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Love Illuminated: Exploring Life's Most Mystifying Subject (with the Help of 50,000 Strangers)by Daniel Jones
Synopses & Reviews
Love is unrivaled in its power to thrill, crush, and sustain. No subject in human history has been more thoroughly examined. And yet, as desperately as we have tried to unlock love's mysteries — to "decode" it through scientific experimentation, philosophical inquiry, and even mathematical algorithms — do we really understand love any better today than Shakespeare did nearly five hundred years ago?
As the editor of a column about love in the New York Times, Daniel Jones has been privy to the deepest personal revelations of tens of thousands of strangers. Deluged with stories of scheming cheaters, hopeless romantics, racy texts, and fierce devotion, he has spent much of the past decade wading through love's muck and majesty — and has taken plenty of notes along the way. In Love Illuminated, he uses his unique perspective to tease apart life's most mystifying subject.
Drawing from the 50,000 tales of love that have crossed his desk, Jones traces the arc of human relationships through ten phases, starting with the pursuit, destiny, vulnerability, connection, and trust of new love, and then turning to the practicality, monotony, infidelity, loyalty, and wisdom of love matured. With empathy and wry humor, he takes readers on an enlightening journey through the highs, lows, and enduring unknowns of this universal experience that rattles the head and stirs the heart.
As Jones explains, "Love is about curiosity, not certainty. It's about tossing oneself overboard into the wild seas, not remaining safely on deck."
In Love Illuminated, he pulls us into the depths of love in all its contradictions and complexities, offering glimmers of understanding along with the comforts of shared experience.
"Editor of the popular New York Times column 'Modern Love,' Jones shares lessons learned over nearly a decade of reading contributors stories of love, dating, marriage, and all of their inherent calamities. Some stories are remarkable, a couple meet in Bangkok only to realize they are from the same small town in Alberta, Canada; others are quirky, a woman determined to date a pilot for the free flights. Jones provides insight on online dating and its pitfalls, the idea of destiny, and what it means to be truly devoted. He further explores 'hookup culture' and vulnerability, recalling a woman who kept a storage unit filled with household supplies, a 'single girl's starter kit,' in case her relationship ended. In 'Marriage 101,' Jones addresses topics like settling on a last name in a way that 'doesn't somehow honor the patriarchy' (easy solution — find and marry someone who already shares your last name), and fair division of labor, childcare, and household chores. Though he insists he is no expert, there is plenty of useful knowledge to be gleaned from Jones and his 50,000 helpers and his delivery and sense of humor make the education more palatable. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A provocative, insightful, and deeply humane meditation on ‘life's most mystifying subject'... Jones...proves an exceptional guide — droll, compassionate, nonjudgmental — through all of loves many phases.” Elle
From the editor of the New York Times' popular "Modern Love" column, the story of love from beginning to end (or not).
Love. We want it. We need it. We pay it homage with songs and poems and great works of art. And when we lose it, there's no pain as intense or excruciating. For centuries we've been trying to figure it out, control it, or just get better at it. As the editor of a column about love for the New York Times, Daniel Jones reads thousands of stories about people's intimate relationships — the ones that soar, crash, or hum along, from the bizarre to the supposedly “normal.” It's possible that he's read more true love stories than anyone on earth. In Love Illuminated, he teases apart this mystifying emotion that thrills, crushes, and sustains.
Drawing from the 50,000 stories that have crossed his desk over the past decade, Jones explores ten aspects of love — pursuit, destiny, vulnerability, connection, trust, practicality, monotony, infidelity, loyalty, and wisdom — and creates a lively, funny and enlightening journey through this universal human experience that jangles the head and stirs the heart.
About the Author
Daniel Jones has edited the Modern Love column in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times since its inception in October 2004. His books include two essay anthologies, Modern Love and The Bastard on the Couch, and a novel, After Lucy, which was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. His writing has appeared in several publications, including the New York Times, Elle, Parade, Real Simple, and Redbook. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with his wife, writer Cathi Hanauer, and their two children.
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