Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why We Need Love, ed. by Simon Van Booy

Why We Need Love, edited by Simon Van Booy
Copyright 2010
Harper Perennial - Philosophy
237 pages

Student: Why does one feel the necessity of love?

Krishnamurti: You mean, why do we have love? Why should there be love? Can we do without it? What would happen if you did not have this so-called love? If your parents began to think out why they love you, you might not be here. They might throw you out. They think they love you; therefore they want they want to protect you, they want to see you educated, they feel that they must give you every opportunity to be something. This feeling of protection, this feeling of wanting you to be educated, this feeling that you belong to them, is what they generally call love. Without it, what would happen? What would happen if your parents did not love you? You would be neglected, you would be something inconvenient, you would be pushed out, they would hate you. So fortunately, there is this feeling of love, perhaps clouded, perhaps besmirched and ugly, but there is still that feeling, fortunately for you and me; otherwise you and I would not have been educated, would not exist.

--from On Love and Loneliness by Jiddu Krishnamurti with students at Rajghat School, Dec. 19, 1952, as quoted in Why We Need Love, p. 222

Doesn't that look like great food for discussion? I may have to bring up this series in my face-to-face book group because I would absolutely love to have a chance to sit around and discuss the readings, quotes and artwork in all three books.

I've written lengthy reviews of the first two of Simon Van Booy's three-book philosophy series, here:

I saved Why We Need Love for last because I thought it would be my favorite and it wasn't, but that doesn't in any way diminish my opinion of the book and the enjoyment I got from the reading. It just wasn't my favorite, that's all.

Like the other books in Simon's philosophy series, Why We Need Love contains selected readings, including poetry, quotations and excerpts from both fiction and non-fiction works as well as works of art, with introductions by the editor. As in the other books, I thought the intros were surprisingly illuminating and the choices of reading material were, for the most part, exceptional.

One thing I really love about this series is that it gives readers who may not have a comprehensive background in literature a chance to dip their toes in the waters of many rivers, so to speak. The variety of readings are not only about love making hearts beat faster and people swoon; there are also readings that make you think about alternatives. In one case, lust is mistaken for love with hilarious and rather horrifying results.

The bottom line:

I loved all three of the books in Simon Van Booy's philosophy series and Why We Need Love was not my favorite but I still enjoyed it immensely. The conversation from which I drew a quote, above, was among my favorite readings but I even liked the passages from Ethan Frome! I know half of you vibrated in horror when I said that, but Simon has done an excellent job of selecting only the bits of literature and philosophy that are most relevant to each topic to create books worth thinking about, talking about and owning. I highly recommend this entire

Cover thoughts:

That cover almost looks rude, doesn't it? Maybe I've been reading Fail Blog too much and I'm sensitive to things that resemble things. I sense that it's warping me badly.

My thanks to Simon Van Booy and HarperPerennial for the review copies of the three books in this series!!

In other news:

Next up will be a list of my November reads in review, a review of E. C. Osondu's Voice of America, and a Books In/Books Out report for the week of December 13-20 (not necessarily in that order). I'm also about halfway through Beneath the Thirteen Moons and plan to review that before I shut down for the holidays. The volunteer firefighters' parade (Santa's way at the back, on the last fire truck-- and he didn't wave . . . weird) has already passed through our neighborhood, so I'm actually late taking off for the holidays. Actually, I'm just late all-around. You should see the blank space beneath our Christmas tree.

Two books have not made it into my sidebar:

Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie - which I read for my book group. And, then I wasn't able to attend the meeting. Major bummer. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the reading, since I'm not a big fan of mysteries.
Let it Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle - Three interconnected young adult Christmas romances written by three terrific authors. I'm on the final story so I guess the cover won't make it into my sidebar, but I'm enjoying the book. It's extremely fluffy reading, perfect for the holiday season.

Back for more fun, tomorrow! Happy Reading!!

©2010 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. You're right...this book sounds like perfect book-group fodder. I haven't read it, but just your review is going to give me mulling material for the rest of the night. Great review!

  2. Constance,

    Your whole comment makes me happy all over. Thanks. :)

  3. How funny, I reviewed this one today too :) It wasn't my favorite either, but still such a great collection!

  4. Amy,

    That is funny. I'm cleaning house to prepare for a visitor, but I'll dash over to read yours, later!

  5. Pfft. What's love got to do with it?

    It looks like a heart on a hook to me.

  6. Carrie,

    Everything, dear. Well, maybe not everything.

    Yes, see. It's just me getting a dirty mind in my old age. I'm going to have to ditch Fail Blog from my reader.


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