I was privileged enough to see Roger Rosenblatt at the Chautauqua Institute this summer as part of the lecture series there and although I was familiar with some of his essay work for magazines and newspapers, I hadn t read any of his long form In person as in the text of The Book of Love Rosenblatt is funny and firmly informed about the topic he tackles Not that he needs comparison to another writer, particularly not one that was essentially a contemporary of him, but I found this book reminding me of the sense of humor and sensibility of Kurt Vonnegut, which for me is a very good thing and I trust after you read this book you ll get the humor in my use of the word very If you are in the mood for a fast paced romp through the American view of love, in a very lyrical way, this is your book Maybe it s just the summer wind, but this book came along at just the right time to lift my spirits and remind me of how much fun both love, and words can be.
I read Kayak Morning by the same writer and found it interesting and insightful The stream of consciousness nature of that book didn t bother me But, honestly, though purportedly similar in structure to Kayak Morning, this supposed meditation on love reads like the scribblings of a very educated English professor who s gone insane I found it almost unreadable.
Ugh the stream of consciousness tone of this book is perhaps representative of the ratio of gems to utter rubbish that one s mind is capable of producing.
The gems are worth wading in the muck for, but to save others the trouble of doing so, here are those I enjoyed Some enchanted evening, you ll meet a stranger and call it love at first sight, when in fact we mean the opposite In order to love someone you ve never laid eyes on before, you need to have retained an impression of the person you would fall in love with once the person materialised An amalgam, perhaps, of the best features of those you nearly loved A composite image, like a police sketch So what the expression love at first sight really means is love at last There s something you should know This announcement may auger a delightful piece of news People are speaking well of you You ve inherited a fortune You are beloved than you can ever realise, in all the ways that someone can be loved, from every angle, from every way of looking at you or into you, for every quality of mind and heart that you possess And for your frailties, too And insecurities And for your failings and stumbles And your sins, for those as well You are beloved for being, and you need not lift a finger to earn it Love is yours My love is yours Even this is something you should know.
People often think love s simple because it arises naturally, in one s nature But love is no simpler than nature is simple It makes demands It requires corresponding actions It takes concentration, patience, trust It asks for attentiveness and creative listening For a will towards understanding For a willingness to live with discomfort and self doubt Perhaps, above all, for kindness not only towards each other, but towards others, towards everyone.
In return, love gives you the strength to endure the whims of fate and suffering and cruelty It teaches you that you can give yourself to someone and retain yourself as well.
Is friendship isolating In a way I suppose it allows people to be alone with one another And whether one talks or not, the affection is obvious.
Whatever you give away at death for the Lord s sake you give because you cannot take it with you Give now, while you are healthy, whatever you intended to give away at your death.
If you take what is mine against my will, is that a show of power Or do I become the powerful if I simply, gladly, give you what I want The true philosophy of life, and love, consists of courage with resignation The lover is wracked with doubt when he asks Do you love me as I love you Are you my life to be, my dream come true Animals, too, draw people out of excessive self interest, their existence is a statement of need A dog s eyes search your face for a mystery as deep as God, asking nothing and everything, the way music operates.
Stick a clock in a room, and the room revolves around time.
The absence of time creates the presence of faith.
The craft of this was clever and there were some bits and pieces I liked, but early on he writes that the world doesn t care about who sleeps with whom, nobody will call the cops and I read it and thought about all the people all over the world who are risking their lives to love the people they love, or go to bed in the way they like, without the permission of some authority which might well kill them if it discovers they transgress, and I looked at the line Rosenblatt is drawing, how many human beings his who sleeps with whom doesn t include, and I quit enjoying the book, and although I read for a while longer, it was a chore So I am stopping.
The Beloved New York Times Bestselling Author Making Toast And Kayak Morning Returns With A Powerful Meditation On A Universal Subject LoveIn The Book Of Love, Roger Rosenblatt Explores Love In All Its Moods And Variations Romantic Love, Courtship, Battle, Mystery, Marriage, Heartbreak, Fury, Confusion, Melancholy, Delirium, Ecstasy Love Of Family, Of Friends Love Of Home, Of Country, Of Work, Of Writing, Of Solitude, Of Art Love Of Nature Love Of Life ItselfRosenblatt Is On A Quest To Illuminate This Elusive And Essential Emotion, To Define This Thing Called Love Cleverly Using Lines From Love Songs To Create A Flowing Ballad As Infectious And Engaging As A Jazz Riff He Intersperses Fictional Vignettes That Capture Lovers In Different Situations, Ages, And Temperaments Along With Notes Addressed To You, His Wife Of Fifty Years The Story I Have To Tell Is Of You Of Others, Too Other People, Other Things But Mainly Of You It Begins And Ends With You It Always Comes Back To You Lively Yet Profound, Poignant Yet Joyous, The Book of Love Is A Triumph Of Intellect And Imagination A Personal Discourse On Love That Is Both Novel And Timeless The writer uses lyrics of the numerous mentions of love to show the theme But the best story I found was when he had a conversation with his 3 year old grandson while driving him to preschool All the memories of the little boy reminded me of time spent in my car with my grandsons The poignant part of Rosenblatt s story is the fact that his daughter had died at a very early age and the little boy really couldn t really remember her.
The Book of Love Improvisations on a crazy little thing by Roger Rosenblatt Stories and thoughts told in a stream of consciousness about love in general and his specific love I found it delightful reading and got most of his references The author is confident and self effacing at the same time, and always eloquent I related to his rants and monologues and would go to see him if he spoke locally.
I read this book very slowly over the past 15 months I love his writing but its something you can easily put down and pick up at another time It is like reading a song The story I have to tell is of you Of others, too Other people, other things But mainly of you It begins and ends with you It always comes back to you A real love song I also recommend making toast , which is of a memoir, beautifully written.