Blood on the Tracks, by Bob Dylan Arguably Dylan’s most human offering and definitely influenced by the dissolution of his marriage (though the man himself claims that the songs were inspired by the stories of Chekhov — good cover story, Bob). We think you probably already own this album, but if you don’t, now’s the perfect time to catch up.
Whatever and Ever, Amen by Ben Folds Five Yeah, we know, it’s not cool to listen to Ben Folds anymore. Blah blah blah. But really, has there ever been a lyric more to the point (and deliciously holler-able) as “I want my money back/ Give me my money back/ You bitch”? It’s just so satisfying, and so back-to-high school, which is exactly how you feel after a breakup. Plus no one will know. We promise.
Sea Change by Beck This is for when you want to wallow. But sometimes a little wallowing is necessary. Repressed feelings are bad news bears.
Hulu You know the Hulu standards — The Office, SNL, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Glee — and the fact that it is an endless well of distraction, but we recommend the newly added 21 Jump Street, an exceptionally awesome ’80s TV show starring a baby-faced Johnny Depp as an undercover cop busting high-school drug dealers. If Johnny doesn’t get you, the outdated slang and hilarious acting will. Oh, and they have three seasons worth. Go to work.
Lars and the Real Girl The best movie ever made about a blow-up doll. For anyone who has lost their faith in the power of community. Or really, for anyone.
(500) Days of Summer Feel Joseph Gordon Levitt’s pain with him as he falls for, dates, and is dumped by the lovely Zooey Deschanel. This movie is basically adorable, and if nothing else, it will assure you that life goes on.
Wet Hot American Summer Not only is it hilarious all the way through, the end is a pretty spot-on reality check about (teenage) romance. Sorry, Coop.
Or, if you just want to laugh your face off, pop in any of HuffPost’s list of funniest movies of the decade — we especially recommend Kung Fu Hustle, High Fidelity, and duh, Super Troopers (also, incidentally, featuring a blow-up doll). Just start a marathon of these gems and you’ll be cheered up in no time.
Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace This thousand-page-plus novel will absorb your life, leaving no room for anything else. Especially thoughts of annoying ex-girlfriends. Also it’s really really good.
Or, if you’re somewhat less ambitious but still want a companion in prose, try Johnathan Franzen’s Breakup Stories, which, like Infinite Jest, is quite good, but unlike Infinite Jest, you can read for free on the internet.
If none of that works, go old school and read some poems. Plath, Shakespeare, Sexton. If you need something focused, check out It’s Not You, It’s Me: The Poetry of Breakup, edited and introduced by Jerry Williams. We particularly enjoy the selections by Denis Johnson (surprise, surprise), like this one:
by Denis Johnson
It’s after one. You’re probably alone.
All night the moon rings like a telephone
in an empty booth above our separateness.
Now is the hour one answers. I am home.
Hello, my heart, my God, my President,
my darling: I’m alarmed by the alarm
clock’s iridescent face, hung like a charm
from darkness’s fat ear. This accident
that was my life will have its witnesses:
now, while the world lies wholly motionless
and sorry in a crapulence of stars,
now is the hour one rises to address
the ages and history and the universe:
I swear you’ll never see my face again.
Note: Not to get cheesy on you, but here’s what we really recommend (and you’ll have to provide for yourself): good friends, good wine, family and a healthy sense of well-just-screw-them-then. And if all that’s not enough for you, start working your way through this. Good luck, comrades.