Nine Stories About Love

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A few weeks ago, I received an email asking me if I would be interested in reviewing a book called Nine Stories About Love. I usually politely refuse such requests. When I get academic books to review for journals or my work, it doesn't really matter whether I like them or not, it's my job to provide a fair and objective review. But this blog is more personal, and I only talk about books I like and choose myself. I always feel bad saying no to a publisher though, especially an independent one. This time, something told me to say yes. I read the description of the book, and it looked interesting. I'm glad I said yes, because the same day I received the book, I read it in twenty minutes and was instantly smitten.

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Nine Stories About Love is primarily a children's book. It's a slim volume, but loaded with depth. Like all good children's books, it also holds interest for adults. Written by Giovanna Zoboli and illustrated by Ana Ventura, it's quite simply a charming little book. I've included a few of my favourite illustrations by Ana in this post, but you can have a look at them all here. The copy I received is an English translation of Nove storie sull'amore, published by Pistache Moustache.

Each story comprises of a tale about love, but there is no venture into cliche when talking about love. The stories remind me of traditional fables, where a certain theme is explored with simplicity, but also, a philosophical spirit that aims to expand concepts and ideas. The book also has a simple, unfussy aesthetic that is actually hard to come by in the world of children's books. A few of my close friends have little children, and I find it really hard to find age-appropriate books that are both aesthetically beautiful and that don't 'talk down' to them. I think children are cleverer than we generally give them credit for, and have an enormous interrogative spirit. Nine Stories About Love speaks to that spirit.

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It's also entirely possible to enjoy this book as an adult. I certainly did. But rather than taking my word for it, here's an excerpt:

Once upon a time, a woman said goodbye to her land which faded away into the distance. "Your plants will grow among my thoughts, and whoever is near me will feel them flower; your birds will live in my voice, and whoever comes close to me will be able to listen to you; you will beat so strongly that the darkness of the night will never let loneliness creep in". Meanwhile, the child sleeping near his mother dreamed he was a seed filled with adventure, carried along by the water and ready to take root anywhere. (28)

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So all in all, this has taught me to say 'yes' more often. What a lovely little book. If you're interested in buying a copy, Nine Stories About Love is available from the Pistache Moustache online shop in both German and English.

Image credits: All images in this post are by Ana Ventura and are used with permission. They are a selection of illustrations from Nine Stories About Love I picked out.

P.S. I did not get paid to do this review. I'm saying this because I've been noticing a lot of nasty comments on other blogs, where the blog author is attacked for talking about a specific product or book. I don't get paid for anything I write on this blog, and as I said, this is a space where I talk about things I genuinely love or feel are important.