Books

MODERN ROMANCE by Aziz Ansari

23453112Aziz Ansari: Comedian, actor, and now… writer! The man behind our beloved Tom Haverford on the TV show Parks and Recreation has now branched out to writing, and I’m happy to say that his new book Modern Romance does not disappoint. I’ve read a few other books by celebrities before (I’m looking at you, Mindy Kaling) and I’ve really enjoyed them, but this book is not at all like the usual memoir or collection of essays written by a famous face.

Instead of concentrating solely on his own life, Ansari has chosen to write a research-based book on something that impacts all of us at one point or another: romance. Although he does include personal anecdotes about his own experiences, the bulk of this book is based on the research he conducted with sociologist Eric Klinenberg. It’s refreshing to see a celebrity write about a topic beyond him or herself, especially one that is rooted in research rather than pure opinion. Ansari’s opinions are certainly present in this book, but he continually emphasizes that he does not hold any judgments about how people should incorporate romance into their lives. Instead, he provides the reader with an abundance of information about romance in our technological age, from the rise of cell phones and dating sites to the standards that we hold when looking for a romantic partner. He also discusses the differences between romance today and decades ago, as well as how dating is viewed in cultures beyond that of the United States. Modern Romance is surprisingly comprehensive in regard to its wide scope and attention to detail, particularly for such a short book.

Right from the introduction, Ansari does an excellent job at explaining his motivations for wanting to write this book, the research methods used, the parameters of and organizations involved with the research, etc. His research is conducted in a variety of ways, from polls and surveys to focus groups and even interviews with the elderly at a retirement home. My only complaint with the heavily researched nature of this book is that I don’t think Klinenberg ultimately receives enough credit. While Ansari did the actual writing of the book itself, there’s absolutely no way that he could have done all of the research on his own. Let’s be honest: Ansari is an actor, not a sociologist. I was disappointed to see that Klinenberg’s name does not even appear on the front cover of the book, almost making it appear as though Ansari had no help whatsoever. This point is perpetuated by the fact that Ansari himself is the sole image displayed on the front cover. In fact, if you didn’t take the time to read the introduction you may not have even been aware of Klinenberg’s involvement. In my opinion, Klinenberg should receive a lot more credit than he is given; after all, he is the one who is educated to conduct this kind of in-depth research in the first place.

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With that said, Modern Romance does cover a wide spectrum of fascinating topics. In particular, I really enjoyed learning about how our dating practices and views on romantic relationships in general differ from the beliefs of people living fifty or more years ago. For example, it’s interesting to note that most of the older women they spoke with wished they had had more time to explore and experience adulthood “single” instead of rushing into marriage as soon as they finished high school. Ansari also explains that today we have a much higher, idealized standard of what a soul mate should be when compared to people’s’ beliefs in past decades. In our modern society, we often strive to find that “perfect” individual with whom we can spend the rest of our lives; however, in the past people would frequently just marry someone from their neighborhood who seemed decent. It certainly puts our dating practices into perspective, especially when thinking about marriage.

I really appreciate how open and inclusive Ansari is in Modern Romance. Although he says outright that due to the limited size of the project he does not focus on same-sex or other relationships besides heterosexual ones, he emphasizes that he is not specifically arguing for or against any particular lifestyle, type of relationship, way of communicating, etc. He reassures the reader that online dating is common in today’s society, stressing that there shouldn’t be a stigma surrounding it and that he or she is not alone in turning to the digital world to find love. However, he does assert that people should use online dating only as an introductory tool to meet people. Often times people spend so much time messaging back and forth with people online that they never actually make the effort to meet anyone in person. I completely agree with this argument: nothing can take the place of face-to-face interactions, especially when it comes to dating.

“There’s not a dating service on this planet that can do what the human brain can do in terms of finding the right person.”

I listened to the audio book version of Modern Romance, and I’m so glad I did. Ansari is an excellent narrator, and I loved the funny voices he did to differentiate quotes and other people speaking from his own narration. His voice really brought out the personality in his writing, although I’m sure that his personality would have been apparent on a printed page as well. The only downside to the audio book format is that the listener can’t see any of the graphs or graphics included in the printed version. I’m not sure how much this actually detracts from the book in the grand scheme of things, but it’s something to keep in mind.

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Overall, Modern Romance offers a fascinating new perspective on dating in the technological world of modern society. Written with the hilarious and engaging personality Ansari is known for, this book is an important example of how celebrities can break the barrier from writing about themselves to writing about topics that involve a larger community. Regardless of your personal views on dating, marriage, and romance in general, there’s certainly something for every reader in Modern Romance. 

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: I would definitely recommend this to friends if they’re fans of Aziz Ansar already. They would probably enjoy it either way, but I think it’s an even better reading experience if you’re familiar with Ansar’s other work as an actor comedian, etc.

What are your thoughts on this book? Are there any other books written by celebrities that your would recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Quotes

QUOTE: Jandy Nelson

“Meeting your soul mate is like walking

“Meeting your soul mate is like walking into a house you’ve been in before – you will recognize the furniture, the pictures on the wall,the books on the shelves, the contents of drawers: You could find your way around in the dark if you had to.”  ~ I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

How adorable is this? When I read it I knew I would have to share it with you all. It’s clever, cute, and I really hope it’s true!

What quotes have you discovered lately? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

The Spread Love Challenge <3

The Spread Love ChallengeHappy Saturday, everyone! I’m here to share the wonderful news that I’ve been nominated to participate in the Spread Love Challenge by Madvanthi @ The Epic Blog. Thanks so much for the nomination, especially for such a lovely challenge!

The Rules: 

  • Write ten four word sentences about what love means to you.
  • Share your favourite quote on love.
  • Nominate ten other bloggers for the same.

My Sentences: For this, I’ve decided to write ten sentences about how love feels.

Warm sunlight in summer. A much needed hug. Laughter in the air. Chocolate melting on tongue. Steaming mug of tea. Slippers on your feet. Sunrise in the morning. Hearing your favorite song. A wide, genuine smile. Your favorite childhood story.

wuthering heights coverMy Favorite Love Quote: There are so many quotes I could have chosen for this, but this is the one I’ve decided to go with!

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

It’s from Withering Heights by Emily Bronte, and I just love the way it’s worded. So brilliant!

My Nominees!

EVERYONE! That’s right: you and you and you and you and you! Go out and spread the love!

Yours

HOLLY

Quotes

QUOTE: Emily Bronte

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Emily Bronte, with an excellent sassy face going there.

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same…”  ~ page 87 of Emily Bronte’s classic novel Wuthering Heights

This little gem of a quote comes from Emily Bronte’s Withering Heights. I love this quote because I think it’s just so beautiful, and it really puts into words what it feels like to find someone you simply click with. Perfect for this Valentine’s Day season! ❤

What quotes have you discovered lately? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Rambles

My Problem with Valentine’s Day

My Problem with Valentine's DayBefore I begin, let’s just get one thing out of the way: this is not a rant about how commercialized/meaningless Valentine’s Day has become. That argument has basically taken over Valentine’s Day, and there is so much discussion about it that I hardly think I need to chime in. Instead, my problem with Valentine’s Day lies with the fact that it focuses primarily on romantic love. 

John Green makes a great argument for this idea in one of his older videos, saying that Valentine’s Day should be about all kinds of love. What about friendship? Why isn’t that celebrated on Valentine’s Day? I certainly love my family and friends and I make a point of giving them all Valentine’s Day cards every year, but it seems like most people only concentrate on their special someone.

Think of how fantastic it would be if all kinds of love were celebrated and appreciated on Valentine’s Day! Perhaps we can work to change the way we celebrate this holiday, but until then I’m going to continue celebrating it in my own way. So Happy Valentine’s Day, you lovely people! ❤

How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Quotes

QUOTE: Emma Watson

“Don’t feel stupid if you don’t like what everyone else pretends to love.” ~ Emma Watson

Yours,

HOLLY

A History

Valentine’s Day: A History

Every year on February 14, people in the United States rush around buying their romantic interests chocolates, flowers, cards, and other gifts. It is a holiday that teenage girls dream longingly about, while at the same time causing teenage boys to cringe. Children often give each other Valentine’s Day cards in school, and decorate their classrooms with red, purple, and pink hearts. Televisions broadcast commercials advertising the latest and greatest necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings, with high hopes that men will purchase them for their special someone. Whether you love it or you hate it, Valentine’s Day returns every year with all of its Cupid-themed festivities. But what exactly is it about this holiday that sparks reactions in people?

First, let’s take a look at some history.Originally, the Catholic Church acknowledged the existence of three Saint Valentines, all with different stories filled with minute and complex details. This makes determining the origins of Valentine’s Day a challenge, because one has to decide which saint is the one associated with the modern holiday. Some people believe that it all began with a Roman fertility festival and feast which often took place in February (well, the February of ancient times.) Nevertheless, the concept of Valentine’s Day (or month, really) has been around longer than most people think.

It was also commonly celebrated in the Middle Ages, mostly in France and England. It is said that people thought that February 14 was the beginning of the mating season of birds, so that month or time of year was frequently associated with love and romance. Back then people expressed themselves verbally, for the first hand-written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until the 1400s. Fast forward to America in the 1700s and the first hand-made Valentine’s Day cards began to crop up. Nearly a century and a half later in the 1840s, a company started to mass-produce them. Today, people send more cards on Valentine’s Day than on almost any other holiday, with the exception being Christmas. And Americans aren’t the only ones who are crazy for this holiday- it is also celebrated in Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

Now that the history aspect has been taken care of, let’s get back to the original question: What is it about Valentine’s Day that evokes such an interest, such a reaction in people? Personally, I think that as humans we are perpetually obsessed with romantic love, so why not make a holiday out of it? I think that Valentine’s day should be about friendship in general and not just focused on romantic relationships. But that’s just me.

Information was gathered using the following source: www.history.com

Yours,

HOLLY