June 30, 2021

Love, passion, and empathy - Books Recommended by Harry Styles

Harry Styles is not only a rippling pop star and charming ladies' man, he’s also a bookworm. Here are just a few of the books Harry loves, filled with love, drama, tragedy and real-life experiences that will have you turning page after page.

The beloved English singer-songwriter’s career started on the X Factor in Britain, where he became part of one of the most-popular boy bands of all time - One Direction. He also made his way onto our TV screens in his feature in Christopher Nolan’s war film Dunkirk as a war soldier. With his pretty impressive repertoire and British spunk, it's no wonder Harry also landed a solo cover on the high-end fashion magazine Vogue, wearing a dress no less! But where does he get the inspiration and witty lyrics to the ballads and serenades that have us swooning from here to Mount Kilimanjaro? 

Here are just a few of the inspirational books Harry has stuck his nose in and some of the outstanding lessons we have picked up from them.

The Course of Love - Alain de Botton

According to Botton, no long-term relationship is as simple as "happily ever after." Love is messy - it comes with risks and hardships, but it’s also a beautiful thing that manifests in time, like a well taken care of plant.

Friendship and love is built in vulnerability

To build meaningful relationships, we must be willing to be vulnerable and transparent. We need to be able to let our guards down, choosing to be our true authentic selves - flaws and all. If we are vulnerable, we allow our partners to be their imperfect selves.

Love is a choice

As much as we want to believe in ‘love at first sight’, love takes work. We choose to love, to be loyal, to take both the good and the bad, to be there for the ups and downs. It's a contract of mutual respect and understanding, a constant give and take of intimacy, trust, and communication.

Compatibility isn't a requirement

Instead of focusing on how incompatible we might be to our partners, the trick to a long-term marriage is to look back at why we got into the marriage in the first place and appreciate how far we’ve come. There's a strangely exotic sense of achievement and loyalty that comes from having stuck it out for so many years, knowing that this version of love is your very own.

Love is a Mixtape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time - Rob Sheffield

It’s true that music elicits emotion and definitely sets the mood, which is why Sheffield starts every chapter with a mixtape list we can listen to while exploring his music-filled moments of joy and grief.

The takeaway?

Music is a love language

“Making a playlist is delicate art. It’s like writing a love letter, better in a way.” - Rob Brooks (played by Zoe Kravitz, ‘High Fidelity’, Hulu - 2020) 

Sharing our favorite song with someone is a love language all on its own. It is as intimate a gesture as a hug or kiss, a way to let someone know that we’ve been thinking about them. It’s an indication of passion and empathy which a strong relationship can be built on.

Music can heal a broken heart

There's nothing like the warm hug of a song that precisely fits the mood we are in, that perfectly captures our feelings and thoughts. Music makes us feel supported and understood. Not only that, we realize that someone has gone through the same pain and feel less isolated, understanding that it's only human to lose love, which helps us connect to people around us.

Music holds our most cherished memories

We all wish we could have just a little more time, make a few more memories with those we’ve lost. But just like a photo album is a time capsule of all our memories, when a certain song comes on, we are reminded of the person we’ve lost, how they loved the song, how they danced to it, or a time where we made memories while the song played in the background.

Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami

Murakami embodies the song Norwegian Wood in his writing by bringing to light the experiences we go through to feel whole again when tragedy strikes.

The lessons?

Dare to be different

It’s impossible to learn something definingly new, if we never allow ourselves to experience something out of the ordinary. We need to learn to step outside our comfort zone, make our own decisions and be our own person. 

You can’t replace pain with sex

Sex is never the answer. It's merely moments of pure bliss that might make us momentarily forget the pain. But once that high is over, we inevitably come crashing down and all the pain and emotion comes rushing back. We need to learn to deal with the pain instead of running from it.

Never bottle up emotions

Talk to someone, because you need the release. If talking doesn’t work, write, take a walk, draw or even paint. No matter what you do, do something.

You Get So Alone at Times that it Just Makes Sense - Charles Bukowski

Perhaps the most interesting book on Styles' shelf is a raw collection of poems by Bukowski about prostitutes, booze, and fights. Some of the poems are also about Bukowski’s recollection of the past, where he explores his past relationships and the humbling lifestyle he once lived.

We can be lonely with people around us
quotation marksWe only have ourselves to go on, and it’s enough...

No matter how many friends and family we have around us, we need to be okay with the fact that some things we have to do and get through on our own. We need to learn to be self-dependent and be our own cheerleader.

It’s easy for fame to change us

The minute we gain a little recognition and perhaps start earning more, it becomes harder to stay humble and stick to the truest versions of ourselves. However, fame may not be permanent, so we need to learn to be ourselves and keep our morals and values in check. What we have today, can be gone tomorrow.

Let your work reflect the true you

Whether we are an upcoming writer, singer or even a regular 9-5 employee, we must strive to leave a mark through our work. It’s about putting our heart and soul into anything we commit to, being unapologetically bold and never making excuses for who we are. Granted, not everyone is going to like it but that’s the beauty of life, sometimes we hit it and sometimes we miss.

For more real-life love, tragedy and song related books and hacks, feel free to visit Uptime.

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