Exploring Life's Most Mystifying Subject (with the Help of 50,000 Strangers)
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.
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.