Sarah Hollenbeck of W&CF, 7 Books to teach us about love

Sarah Hollenbeck of W&CF, 7 Books to teach us about love

Sarah Hollenbeck is a writer, editor, and co-owner of my fave Chicago bookstore, Women and Children First.  Her essays have been featured in literary magazines and blogs, as well as, most recently, a collection of feminist writing called Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America, alongside Cheryl Strayed and Samantha Irby.  Big time!  Read her beautiful piece from that collection on the idea of motherhood in uncertain times here .   

 Sarah in her element at Women and Children First. (via Element.com)

Sarah in her element at Women and Children First. (via Element.com)

I asked her to share some of her favorite stories about love and she graciously agreed, putting a thoughtful spin on the idea.

“I'm not much into love stories, but here are some unconventional books that I adore (novels, short stories, nonfiction) that expanded or challenged my understanding of love--not only for one's partner or kin but also for one's self”:

Just Kids by Patti Smith

 Smith recounts her relationship with Robert Maplethorpe in the “epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies.”

Smith recounts her relationship with Robert Maplethorpe in the “epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies.”

 Short stories about relationships with surprising twists and turns into the surreal.  

Short stories about relationships with surprising twists and turns into the surreal.  

 A wife and mother looks back on her marriage.  She evokes ancient philosophers and writers in an attempt to answer the question, “What went wrong?”

A wife and mother looks back on her marriage.  She evokes ancient philosophers and writers in an attempt to answer the question, “What went wrong?”

 A young girl searches for the history of her name and discovers a rich family history filled with pain and perseverance.  

A young girl searches for the history of her name and discovers a rich family history filled with pain and perseverance.  

 A new release from feminist scholar bell hooks provides a “new ethic for a people and a society bereft with lovelessness.”

A new release from feminist scholar bell hooks provides a “new ethic for a people and a society bereft with lovelessness.”

 A series of letters to the author’s unborn child try to express the complexities of human love through the exploration of nature.  Part memoir, part field guide.

A series of letters to the author’s unborn child try to express the complexities of human love through the exploration of nature.  Part memoir, part field guide.

 The best of Strayed’s advice column, Dear Sugar, spans all topics- relationships, career, and health. 

The best of Strayed’s advice column, Dear Sugar, spans all topics- relationships, career, and health. 

These are wonderful, thanks so much, Sarah!

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If you’ve never been to W&CF, here are some things I love about it: 

-Excellent staff and THE BEST “staff picks” shelf

-Monthly book groups, go once and meet women who’ve been going for 20 years! 

-Weekly children’s storytime, on Wednesday’s from 10:30-11.

-Cozy reading areas and a toy corner so moms can browse for a millisecond.

-An events calendar that’s brimming with readings, book launches, and programming for teens.  

I could go on and on.  

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To see Sarah be her brilliant self live, stop by W&CF or head to Steppenwolf this Saturday for a reading on, fittingly,  LOVE.  

 

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