Romance and literature have gone hand-in-hand since the earliest of times. Love stories date as far back as we can trace ourselves as cognizant humans, and love stories have survived even where cognizant humans sometimes... didn't. From a thousand year-old romance to its most modern interpretations, we have seen, read and followed its evolution as the society evolved alongside it.

But sometimes, we just need a break.

With the rise of YA literature, to which a good portion of this blog is dedicated, we have seen the rise of romance to the levels of implausibility, of impossibility, and of trope upon romantic trope until we find ourselves wishing we could turn to a book where romance is non-existent, or where the love story is so low-key that it never threatens to overshadow the plot, or dominate all character interactions.

So this week, we have compiled a list for a non-romantic in us all - of fascinating worlds, of witty observations, of humor and madness and lyrical prose - and all without dramatic declarations of undying love, and a complete absence of angsty love triangles. Those books exist! Those books are out there! And our favorites are on this list below.

1. Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops by Jen Campbell

Genre: Non fiction/Humour

This isn't even a story, it's a book with some very clueless and interesting "characters", as in real people, who ask silly things in a bookshop. Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshop does as the title says - recounts real-life accounts, and chooses only the most hilarious. Given the structure of this book, there is obviously no romance to be found, just laughs and eye-rolls. Everyone will love this book, not even just readers - everyone

2. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Genre: (Adult) Paranormal

In this origin story of two supervillains with a superhero complex, the only kind of romance to be found is one between a man and his (skewed) ideals. One can also encounter a fair amount of bromance-turning-ugly, family-turning-murderous, and - naturally - curiosity-turning vicious. With superb characterization, a stunning plot, and more twists than a spy movie, Vicious remains one of the highlights of our book collections, and our recommendation to any and all who find themselves desiring a good story over merely a good romance. And if you find yourself agreeing with any of the two principal protagonists, please seek professional help at the nearest mental health institution. You might find one of us is already being treated there for the same problem.

3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis

Genre: (Children's) Fantasy

We're all familiar with the Chronicles of Narnia, the story that we grew up with (aside the Harry Potter books), which encouraged our countless times checking the back of our wardrobe for the magical land. This is a children's book, so it's bound to involve zero to no romance. The story is jam-packed with fantastical creatures, action and all manner of exciting adventures, and topped off with religious undertones. And neither the action, nor the subliminal themes leave much room for romance overall. Sometimes its nice to have a little love story on the side, but it wouldn't fit in the Narnia books at all.

4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Genre: (Young Adult) Science fiction

As the chapter 1 heading will inform you, in the not-too-distant future of Ready Player One, "being human sucks most of the time. Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable." (If you take a close look at the cover above, you might notice makeshift towers of beat-up trailers - it's that kind of unbearable.) And so protagonist Wade Watts and billions of others plug into the Oasis, a virtual utopia which teeters precariously on an edge between a reality substitute and a MMORPG. When the famous Oasis creator dies and leaves his entire legacy to whoever can find his in-game Easter Eggs first, Wade and those same billions enter a race against time, reality, and everyone else. Because only one can win. And not everyone can survive - in-game or out. And while teenage Wade's mind might be equally divided between game, survival and girls, this is a book where a whisper of a romance doesn't dominate the plot, nor does it determine its final outcome. 

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Genre: Historical Fiction

The narrator of the story says it all really. The Book Thief is set in Germany during World War II, which really doesn't need romance to make it interesting. It's such a powerful story from a unique perspective that'll have you hooked from the start, and possibly reaching for the tissues for it's tragic plot. It has many relationships that are in no way romantic, which doesn't take away from the story at all. If you want something that's gripping, tearful and an overall different style of book, then we highly recommend people give this one a try.

6. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

Genre: (Adult) Fantasy

Kvothe is many things in one. He is a talented storyteller. A prolific traveler. An unintentional explorer. A gifted musician. An occasional warrior. A friend (to few). An orphan. A powerful magician. The one thing Kvothe is decidedly not, however, is an enamored lover. While occasionally starstruck by a very frustrating female, Kvothe will spend a better part of the (currently) 1600+ pages on adventures which feature everything but romance with said female. And we are eternally grateful for it (did we mention she was frustrating?). Also, this story may or may not contain dragons and a murder of one or more kings of one or more empires. We dare you to pass it up. We dare you.

7. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Genre: (Middle Grade) Fiction

Dear Reader, if you're unfamilar with this story, I suggest you look into them. The story revolving about the Baudelaire orphans is, as stated, very unfortunate, and their bad luck and run-ins with Count Olaf leave no time for happiness or anything remotely cheerful like a love story. Romance is definitely not something that should be included in these books, however. It would stick out like a sore thumb, so it's a blessing that it's not weaved in, although it would be nice for them to have a little bit of happiness. These events that occur to these orphans are quite unfortunate, so it would be nice for them to have a break. Poor kids.

8. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Genre: (Adult) Mystery/Crime

If you ever found yourself excessively creeped out by the Ten Little Soldier Boys nursery rhyme - this is the book for you. If you're unfamiliar with the Ten Little Soldier Boys nursery rhyme - look it up, be creeped out, and then proceed to pick this book up. Devoid of romance but abounding in all that makes a book great, And Then There Were None is just the right blend of escapism and puzzle to take over your life and have you questioning anything and everything until you are finished. Because And Then There Were None features: a deserted island setting, ten influential dinner guests, a mansion where the dinner takes place, an absence of the mastermind who invited them to dinner in the first place, English weather (make of that what you will) and lots and lots of premeditated murder. And then there were... none.

9. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Genre: (Middle Grade) Fantasy

This book starts with a twelve year old Percy. What twelve year old demi-God has time for love? He's too busy kicking ass. We're all aware of the story of Percy, the young New Yorker discovers he is a son of Poseidon, and is thrown into the world of beasts, Gods and magic. Girls are the last thing on his mind at that age, he's got more important things to worry staying alive? Yeah, definitely more important. There is a slight chance that in future books there could be hints of romance, but they don't really come into play until the conclusion of the series. The romantic love doesn't really make any impact until the spinoff series, Heroes of Olympus, when Percy is in his teenage years. In lieu of romance, the main themes of this story are a love of family and friends, and bravery in the face of danger.

10. The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

Genre: Fantasy

With over forty books spanning many different worlds and a plethora of characters, the Discworld series has it all - even hints and whispers of romance every four books or so. But with each book set up as an individually-readable experience and with the quintessentially Pratchettesque humor throughout it all, the romance is never the kind you would despise (or often even recognize!). Elephants are too busy riding astride a giant turtle, trunks are too busy chasing down their masters, and witches are far too busy being witch-like to leave room for those shenanigans. (Though one of the witches has an awful lot of kids...) In a Terry Pratchett novel, every sentence is plot. And in a Terry Pratchett novel, every sentence is infinitely worth it.

Fear not! These are only ten of our favorite essentially non-romantic picks in various genres and across various age categories. We appreciate all feedback (and your own picks!) in the comments below. And if you have already made your way through this list, or if you are looking for a lack of romance within a specific genre we didn't cover, feel free to leave us a comment, or find us on social media (pretty much everywhere).