“They call me naughty Lola”.

lola‘Every week thousands of people advertise for love either in newspapers, magazines or online. It’s not a modern phenomenon though,  people have been placing ads for over three centuries.  ‘Shapely Ankles Preferr’d’ tells the story of these ads, of all kinds, in this history of the lonely hearts ad, covering 1695-2010. 

Classified’ is another fascinating look at the history of relationships and attitudes to relationships in 20th-century Britain, explored through the medium of the personal ad. Since 1998, the world’s most erudite readers have congregated in the small ads section of the London Review of Books in the hope of finding love. ‘They call me naughty Lola’; the London Review of Books personal ads: a reader  brings together the work of the ‘edgy’, the ‘irascible’ and the ‘flatulent’ to provide a glimpse into the most notorious, endearing and funny lonely hearts ads.

The follow up is called Sexually I’m more of a Switzerland  – this makes engrossing reading with lots of witty one-liners and laugh-out-punchlines, laced with lots of pathos and passion.

Tales from a country matchmaker is by Patricia Warren,  the founder of the first lonely hearts agency for farmers and country dwellers, with amusing and poignant stories of love in the countryside.

Couldn’t resist this most unromantic title. Not personal ads as such but  Dating for dummies which says it  will keep readers up-to-date on how to enhance their romantic opportunities and avoid common pitfalls as the internet becomes a more prevalent part of the dating scene. Very romantic. All books available from Leeds Libraries