Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!
Today’s pick is an older book which understandably has some antiquated language and opinions but yet continues to have parts that are deeply relevant.
All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks
The author first talks about the definition of love and how everyone seems to have a different definition. The love she is talking about is not a mere feeling. It’s not the idea of love you fall into, unaware and unavoidable. The love that hooks is talking about in this book is a choice. It’s an action and it’s something you choose to do over and over as well as something you choose to open yourself up to.
She goes on to write about how everyone assumes that people learn how to love in the homes they grew up in but that’s not necessarily true. She talks about the skewed idea that someone can both love a child and be abusive toward them. She posits that love cannot exist where there is abuse. Care can exist and kindness can exist but love cannot. She also writes about how love cannot exist in a place where there is no honesty.
I especially appreciated her chapters about community and healing, how no one heals alone, and healing as a communion. hooks writes a lot about how capitalism and narcissism and individualism make it practically impossible for us to love each other or ourselves and, in effect, make it impossible to heal.
There is a section on death that really made me see death in a different way because yes, in death there is love. She suggests that in the U.S. we have a fear of life. That we learn it’s dangerous to celebrate too much or to be optimistic or hopeful about something because we might get hurt. By not doing the celebrating and not having hope or optimism, we are denying ourselves the opportunity to love life.
This book was a heavy read but I’m really glad I read it and I hope you do too.
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That’s it for now, book-lovers!
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