I thought our February book pick of Modern Love: The Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption was just what Cupid ordered this month. I often tell my kids that “love is love” and sometimes it might be found in unconventional places. I thought Daniel Jones’ collection of these New York Times essays captured this sentiment perfectly.
There was something to the cadence of this book where you’re reading one essay after the next of these personal love stories that really made it special. I appreciated how this book was divided into categories where we got to read about first loves, heartbreaks, family dynamics, serious illnesses, divorce, and even adopting children. It truly is a capsule of love stories of all kinds.
I had two favorite essays and shocking they did focus on the more traditional romantic love. Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s “You May Want to Marry My Husband,” in my opinion, will never be able to be topped. It is the most riveting testament of love I have ever read. I also so enjoyed “The Race Grows Sweeter Near It’s Final Lap” that told the love story of a couple who found each other when she was 70 and he was 80. #goals!
Did you have a favorite essay from this book? What did you think of it as a whole?
Switching gears, let’s talk March.
When I stopped in the Lake Forest Book Store before Christmas to talk upcoming books with Maxwell Gregory (locals know the fountain of information Max is and her amazing skill to match a book with its reader), she couldn’t say enough about Jeannine Cummins book, American Dirt, that hadn’t even yet been released (it debuted late January). She told me that it’s a tough story about the plight of immigrants, but it’s gripping in how it’s told and very worth reading. I also saw that Oprah chose it for her book club amidst a lot of controversy of her choice, but she stood by her decision because she was so moved by the story and thinks it raises many important topics for the world to discuss.
In a nutshell, this is American Dirt:
“Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy―two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia―trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.”
So who’s in?