For February, all our book club picks are about love. Or at least the word “love” is in the title. While not a traditional book club pick, my personal choice is 2015 Festival author Adrian Tomine’s Scenes from an Impending Marriage. This tiny graphic memoir is Tomine’s sketchbook following his experience of planning a marriage.
A charming and intimate collection of correspondence between #1 New York Times bestselling author Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, that offers timeless wisdom and a revealing glimpse into their lives. Anderson Cooper’s intensely busy career as a journalist for CNN and CBS’ 60 Minutes affords him little time to spend with his ninety-one year old mother. After she briefly fell ill, he and Gloria began a conversation through e-mail unlike any they had ever had before—a correspondence of surprising honesty and depth in which they discussed their lives, the things that matter to them, and what they still want to learn about each other.
This is the debut novel by 2015 Festival author Kaitlyn Greenidge, and while the premise is quirky (a family raising a chimpanzee as one of their own) the unsettling and profound themes that rise to the surface make this book unforgettable.
This shattering novel is filled with storytelling sleight of hand. What appears to be a story of mothers and daughters, of sisterhood put to the test, of adolescent love and grown-up misconduct, and of history’s long reach, becomes a provocative and compelling exploration of America’s failure to find a language to talk about race.
On Love, by Alain de Botton (240 pages)
A man and a woman meet over casual conversation on a flight from Paris to London, and so begins a love story—from fist kiss to first argument, elation to heartbreak, and everything in between. Each stage of the relationship is illuminated with starling clarity, as de Botton explores emotions often felt but rarely understood.
Keep an eye our for Alain de Botton’s novel The Course of Love, out in paperback in June 2017.
A family history of surpassing beauty and power: Ian Buruma’s account of his grandparents’ enduring love through the terror and separation of two world wars. Now, in a labor of love that is also a powerful act of artistic creation, Ian Buruma has woven his own voice in with theirs to provide the context and counterpoint necessary to bring to life, not just a remarkable marriage, but a class, and an age.
Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez (368 pages)
In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs–yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.