Love Makes the World Go 'Round: A Reading List from Open Book Night
Participants at our book social reached out to share on romantic love, artistic passion, brotherly love, love of a place, love of an idea for our February Open Book Night. And as Love Makes the World Go ‘Round was our theme, we found that the love of books finds its way to readers in every genre. Please feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments section below.
We began the evening in Medieval times with Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon, which reminded the reader of the Dungeons and Dragons game and made him want to go into the setting himself. The inclusion of maps in fantasy stories was a much loved feature by most of us at Open Book Night. Elizabeth mentioned being able to reproduce the maps of Middle Earth from memory. And, that world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit had us thinking about how even the smallest person can make a huge impact on the world.
Not to be outdone by the fantasy world, Sandra Brown was thought fantastic for tackling heart transplantation, affairs, and stalkers in Charade, and her romantic appeal keeps the recommender coming back to all of her books.
A younger reader offered comic books as the genre he loved most, which led to a discussion on those famous loves of Archie, Betty and Veronica.
Richard recommended Arthur Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell “because Arthur’s failure [is] turned into a success.” Rimbaud’s challenges are transformed into language to describe the struggle of the individual against society.
Likewise, Maybel was curious about the poet Mary Oliver and found a love of place and a love of life in her work. She read from Oliver’s poem What the Body Says, “I was born here, and/ I belong here, and/ I will never leave.”
And, Langston Hughes was suggested for his poetry on brotherly love.
Love in the 21st Century
One of our participants was asking for books on modern love and suggestions included Audrey Niffenegger’s pull and push of love over a lifetime in The Time-Traveler’s Wife.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari was offered as a humorous and scientific look at dating and finding love in the world of 21st century technology. Modern Romance is also available as an audiobook read by the author; copies are available to download.
Reflecting on love that survives over the centuries we had to talk of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and the kind of true love that is recognized as universal across cultures.
In the same vein, Ali and Nino by Kurban Said, set more than 100 years ago, tells the tale of love across religion and culture in a time of war and feels very modern.
Also recommended was Geling Yan’s The Criminal Lu Yanshi celebrated for its love of family and forgiveness.
Coming full circle at the end of the evening, Elizabeth brought us to March’s Open Book Night theme, Women in Print, with another fantasy book with a richly detailed and beautifully mapped world, Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. This beloved American author has been honored with many awards including The National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Please join us on March 11 to discuss more great Women in Print, as authors, protagonists, or subjects. Happy Reading!
Upcoming Open Book Nights
Past Open Book Nights
Click to see the list of books discussed.
- February 13, 2015 - Love
- April 10, 2015 - New Beginnings
- May 8, 2015 - Nature
- June 12, 2015 - Sports
- June 26, 2015 - Open theme
- July 10, 2015 - Open theme
- August 14, 2015 - Travel
- September 11, 2015 - New York
- October 9, 2015 - The Occult
- November 13, 2015 - Thanksgiving
- December 11, 2015 - Food and cooking
- January 9, 2016 - In With the New!