Library Blog

A Shelf Full of Love

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

You can have it with a few hairs, with paprika, or as a living flame. bell hooks wrote all about it, and the Mambo Kings play songs of it. What is it? It’s all we talk about around Valentine’s Day: love, love, love. According to our catalog, 5004 print book results include LOVE in the title or as a major topic.

We love movies, even bad ones; New York City; capitalism, money, orcas, trash, and you to bits and pieces.

We write love letters to New York City, too, and to places like the USA, the earth, and Deaf Utopia.

When we’re not writing letters, we’re writing poetry, whether we're Bertolt Brecht, Fanny Howe, Gregory Orr, or Edward Hirsch - Pablo Neruda too.

And if we're not penning poetry, we're churning out love songs - we could be Miss Queenie Hennessy, W.E.B. Du Bois, Jonny Valentine, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, or Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya - not to mention both J. Alfred Prufrock and J. Edgar Hoover.

We’re in love, from Socrates, Dostoyevsky, Melville, Wallis Simpson, Hemingway, Dickens, and D.H. Lawrence to a whole bunch of Tudors and the city of Paris.

We send love from Odessa, Barcelona, Beijing, Bruges, the fatherland, and, of course, Russia.

And we send love to the Peace Corps, Mary, my daughters, and both the classic Sir and the newcomer Siri.

Love is both free and for sale. It’s in color, unconditional, tough, tiny, careless, reckless, aimless, blind, mad, and dirty. It’s both illuminated and unknown. It’s radical, a revolution, and also a canoe.

Love comes with science, math, theft, other crimes, techno, and death among the cheetahs. It comes with activism and the respectable life of Alice Dunbar-Nelson. There’s love alongside happiness, friendship, marriage, and resistance – but also hate, drowning, terror, ruin, madness and scandal, other train wrecks, other consolation prizes, and tartan. And let’s not forget the elephants.

As the Beatles so eloquently said, all you need is love...and maybe books.

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