The best books about people who should know better than to be this obsessed

Sarah Terez Rosenblum Author Of Herself When She's Missing
By Sarah Terez Rosenblum

Who am I?

I’m obsessed with obsession; with the nature of intimate relationships. If I could obsess about a topic as easily and naturally as I can about a human, I’d probably have five or six advanced degrees. As a writer I’m most frequently drawn to third-person limited because I love the marriage of intimacy and distance it can create. It's that marriage that confounds me; the dark inner spaces contained by the people we love. 


I wrote...

Herself When She's Missing

By Sarah Terez Rosenblum,

Book cover of Herself When She's Missing

What is my book about?

When Andrea meets Jordan, their connection is undeniable: Jordan is powerfully seductive, and Andrea is intrigued by Jordan’s lawless ways. Their romance escalates, but as Jordan becomes increasingly manipulative and unreliable, Andrea realizes that her passion for Jordan has become another of her obsessions. The first time Jordan leaves her, Andrea flees Los Angeles for Chicago, almost relieved, but when Jordan arrives on Andrea’s doorstep, Andrea can’t help it; she’s thrilled.

Meet Andrea: tightly wound, mid-20s, teacher, hotter than she gives herself credit for, less clever than she believes. Meet Jordan: LA-skinny, ocean eyes, early-40s, perpetual undergraduate student, a liar who believes her lies. Post-modern in form (lists, 3x5 cards, even the occasional screenplay), but classical in theme: a tale of a girl desperate for something like, but not quite love.

The books I picked & why

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Luster

By Raven Leilani,

Book cover of Luster

Why this book?

In Luster, Edie a disaffected Black woman in her twenties becomes entrenched in a S&M-tinged relationship with a white man in his forties in an open marriage. The plot is confrontational and the characterization all-consuming, and you want to read fast but the sentences—purposefully jammed to bursting with imagery—force you to slow down to absorb them. I’m a sucker for a smart woman who is nonetheless fixated on a flawed love interest, who thinks she sees herself clearly but maybe the reader knows different. 

Luster

By Raven Leilani,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Luster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

WINNER of the NBCC John Leonard Prize, the Kirkus Prize, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award

One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2020
A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: NPR, The New York Times Book Review, O Magazine, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times, Glamour, Shondaland, Boston Globe, and many more!

"So delicious that it feels illicit . . . Raven Leilani’s first novel reads like summer: sentences like ice that crackle or…


Seven Moves

By Carol Anshaw,

Book cover of Seven Moves

Why this book?

Christine Snow is a therapist who has her shit together, or does she? When her girlfriend vanishes, it becomes apparent to Chris that, on an emotional level, Taylor was never really there to begin with. Anshaw’s use of a third-person limited point of view and a present tense narrative creates a sense of breathless intimacy. If you’re looking for a thriller, look elsewhere. Seven Moves is a well-observed mediation on the inherent unknowability of an intimate partner. Anshaw does obsession like no one else. 

Seven Moves

By Carol Anshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seven Moves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Christine Snow, a Chicago therapist, has at last returned from the margins of her past - a card-sharp father, too many wrong lovers - into comfortable urban domesticity with Taylor Hayes, a travel photographer. The two women share a house, a dog, a life. And then one morning after a minor argument, Taylor disappears, Chris's anger turns to alarm as time passes and still she hears nothing, until she falls across a clue as unsettling in itself as Taylor's disappearance. Following a trail that leads to Morocco and home again, Seven Moves tracks Chris's gradual realisation that one can never…


My Education

By Susan Choi,

Book cover of My Education

Why this book?

Gender takes a backseat to obsession when college student Regina becomes enamored with Professor Nicholas Brodeur, before finding a deeper romantic connection with his volatile wife. Choi nails the mix of awe and attraction that can characterize the relationship between a young person and an older counterpart. Lyrical and emotionally immersive, this academic novel depicts a regular young woman who believes (as we all do) that the strength of her passion is unique. 

My Education

By Susan Choi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Education as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An intimately charged novel of desire and disaster from the National Book Award-winning author of Trust Exercise and A Person of Interest

Regina Gottlieb had been warned about Professor Nicholas Brodeur long before arriving as a graduate student at his prestigious university high on a pastoral hill. He's said to lie in the dark in his office while undergraduate women read couplets to him. He's condemned on the walls of the women's restroom, and enjoys films by Roman Polanski. But no one has warned Regina about his exceptional physical beauty-or his charismatic, volatile wife.

My Education is the story of…


Social Creature

By Tara Isabella Burton,

Book cover of Social Creature

Why this book?

Okay. Obsession take four. This time it’s platonic, sort of. When Louise, a disillusioned writer meets bored socialite Lavinia, the two are drawn into an increasingly dysfunctional friendship. Lavinia’s money and social clout offer Louise what talent hasn’t allowed her; entree into an elite literary scene. Written in the present tense, Social Creature is sumptuous in its details and propulsive in its plot. The reader journeys with Louise through a funhouse mirror tiled with Instagram squares. Call it The Talented Mr. Ripley meets Single White Female with a millennial twist. 

Social Creature

By Tara Isabella Burton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Social Creature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the Best Books of the Year:
Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Vulture
NPR

"Social Creature is a wicked original with echoes of the greats (Patricia Highsmith, Gillian Flynn)." —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

For readers of Gillian Flynn and Donna Tartt, a dark, propulsive and addictive debut thriller, splashed with all the glitz and glitter of New York City.

They go through both bottles of champagne right there on the High Line, with nothing but the stars over them... They drink and Lavinia tells Louise about all the places they will go together, when they finish…


Hey, Dollface

By Deborah Hautzig,

Book cover of Hey, Dollface

Why this book?

This book was ahead of its time. This YA novel was written in 1978 but I found it on a shelf in my local library in 1992 when I was a queer preteen. An elliptical narrative about the burgeoning romantic relationship between two teenage girls, the novel captures a nameless yearning I understood without knowing why. Though the narrative felt to me illicit, it wasn’t prurient but rather deeply felt and authentic to the experience of a teenager coming to understand her sexuality as it crystalizes around one compelling friend.

Hey, Dollface

By Deborah Hautzig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hey, Dollface as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Val and Chloe don't fit in at their fancy private school in Manhattan. Together, they ditch school, visit cemeteries and thrift shops and have sleepovers during which they confide all their secret thoughts. Lately, Val has all kinds of questions. Especially about sex. So Val turns to the two people who have always given her the most honest answers possible: her mother and Chloe. Unfortunately, not even Val's mother-an adult!-has all the answers. Val starts to think that maybe she's not "normal" at all. Because she has some other feelings for Chloe. Feelings that she never expected to have. Would…


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