It’s been a year since Netflix introduced us to Love, a Judd Apatow-produced dramedy centered around two recently single and drifting L.A. denizens, Gus (Paul Rust) and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs). And now, the show is officially back on Netflix with 12 new episodes. Season two picks up where we left off. The recently broken up pair kissing in a gas station parking lot after Mickey reveals that she is a sex and love addict and alcoholic. This season, Gus and Mickey continue to navigate the tricky waters of wanting to be together while knowing the timing is a bit off.
The rich cast of characters like Mickey’s perky pushover roommate, Bertie, and existentially heavy subplots make it so easy to fall head over heels for the show. Twelve episodes isn’t nearly enough. Chances are, if you’re addicted to Love like me, you’ve already binge watched the entire season and you’re left wanting more. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of amazing books to tide you over ‘til season three.
Here are 7 books you should read if you love… Love.
1. If you miss the L.A. landscape – Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
A very specific, almost mythical kind of L.A. serves as the backdrop for Love. Self-obsessed actresses, pop-up religious meetings, bags of psychedelics sprinkled in your freezer, and everyone’s got a spec script.
Less than Zero opens with Clay, a rich and aimless college student, returning home to L.A. for winter break in the early 1980s. The buzzing city is a playground and their parents’ money and power keep indulgence limitless. Everyone’s high. Indifferent and boredom run amok. Having spent months on the East Coast, his once-familiar city starts to show its underbelly and Clay has never felt more distant from his friends.
2. If you feel like you’re underachieving in adulthood – Friendship by Emily Gould
While season one found Bertie and Mickey sticking to the confines of just roommates, in season two, the duo tries on a closer, or at least more open, friendship.
Gould’s semi-autobiographical novel centers on two best friends, Bev and Amy. At thirty, they’ve both hit plateaus—romantically, professionally, and otherwise. Bev’s trapped in a life even she finds pitiful: temping and drowning in debt. Amy is coasting in her media job, riding the diminishing wave of early success. Circumstances test their friendship and force both women to face adulthood head-on.
3. If you like a tale of recovery and redemption – Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
If you’re a fan of Less than Zero than you’ll probably also like this literary Brat Pack compatriot, Bright Lights, Big City, which explores the same kind of 1980’s nightlife and hedonism, but it’s set in gloomy New York City. Things aren’t going well for our recently dumped narrator. His wife left him to be a model in France, and he’s a lowly fact-checker for a prestigious magazine he’d once hoped for write for. He avoids his troubles by hanging out with sketchy characters who only seem to come out at night and a whirl of cocaine and alcohol. Sound familiar? *cough*Mickey*cough*
It’s also well-known for its successful use of second-person narration. Pretty cool.
4. When you just need to escape into cheesy genre – The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
Gus’ earns a living as an on-set tutor for the child star of a kitschy, hit show a la a network like The CW called Witchita, focused around a family of witches. In Anne Rice’s early-90’s best-seller The Witching Hour, Dr. Rowan Mayfair learns she has psychic abilities that can either save or destroy lives. Through a series of events, she discovers her estranged biological family also possesses supernatural powers. A goody bag of melodrama, there’s magic fights, kidnappings, and rambling, complicated family histories. If you enjoy it, pick up the rest of the Lives of the Mayfair Witches series.
5. If you want to root for an unlikely couple – The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
Gus and Mickey aren’t quite on the same level. Aloof, cool-girl Mickey is a little out of gangly bespectacled geek, Gus’s league. It’s a similar situation for lifelong couple Ethan and Ash, one-third of the main cast in Meg Wolitzer’s best-selling 2013 novel The Interestings. Centered on a group of six artistically-inclined and gifted friends, readers follow their transformations from hopeful teens to nearly-burned-out twenty-somethings who eventually stumble into mid-life. Him, a chubby, endearing, and empathetic cartoonist/illustrator. Her, a poised yet often self-absorbed near-prodigy raised by a wealthy NYC family.
6. If you like a strong female lead – The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Mickey is a beautiful mess, but that makes her kind of a badass. She speaks her mind and doesn’t take shit from anybody.
Seventeen and reeling from her mother’s suicide, Nadia Tuner secretly starts dating the pastor’s son, Luke, a twenty-one-year-old former high school football star whose leg injury put his dreams on hold. The flingy relationship ends when Nadia finds herself pregnant and having an abortion alone. That is where these two kids’ paths diverge. Self-reliant, determined, and successful, readers follow Nadia as she struggles to let go of “what if” and accept her difficult decision to prevent life while mourning the end of her mother’s.
7. When you need to understand why your boyfriend is such an asshole – The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
In Love, Gus may very well fit the nice guy mold. He can also be a real asshole sometimes, especially when it comes to the dating scene. Last season, he juggled two women at once. This season he’s not playing the field, but that doesn’t excuse his kissing Mickey in the season opener after she says she needs some time alone to sort herself out.
In The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., Nathaniel is a young thirty-something on the cusp of the next big step in his promising writing career. A Harvard graduate, he’s bright and attractive by all standards, but he’s also kind of an asshole. As Nate tries to make things work with his newest girlfriend, Hannah, a smart, pretty, and funny writer who should be perfect for him, the reader is introduced to his menagerie of past relationships. Realizing he’s left a wake of heartbroken, dejected women behind him, he can either repeat his mistakes or change course and try to save his relationship. But change is not as easy as it sounds.