Title: The Conversations: 66 Reasons to Start Talking

Author: Olivia Fane

Publisher: Vintage Books

Publication Date: 2014

Genre: Popular Psychology, Non-Fiction

As I age, I am learning and yearning to have more intimate conversations. Yes, I still share a few anecdotes about popular culture or what’s the latest YouTube craze. But nothing beats connecting with people on the most obscure of things.  In The Conversations, Olive Fane picks 66 topics that everyone has probably thought about but may have relegated to the back of their minds.  She discusses topics ranging from flirting, cooking, socialism, Plato to having needs in very short chapters.

Fane’s tone reminds me of a favourite, eccentric auntie who tells it like it is with a touch of British wit. She borrows heavily from her life experiences and shares her love for ancient Greece and philosophy without bogging down the reader It is quite clear that she has an opinion on the topics but she does not preach to the reader. Instead, she makes her point and leaves the reader to ruminate on the issues with the accompanying discussion questions.

Here are a couple of quotes I loved:

On Immortality

“Apart from ‘work’, the true business of life seems to be about love, To be open and intimate with others at the best and worst times, is all we can do to put meaning into our lives”

On the Morality of Shopping

…Yet there is a paradox: though as a society we love and indeed fall in love with the ‘creative’ people, if we go out and buy what they make we are made to feel guilty.

On Violence

“Violence is ultimately an act of communication and what is being communicated is unhappiness, disappointment, a sense of injustice. Articulacy is the key to preventing it, we were able to recognise why we’re feeling upset and put it into words, and someone then is able to respond to those words, domestic abuse would be a thing of the past.”

On Being a Partner

“There is no right, no wrong, no absolute; the rules in every relationship, like the steps in a dance, are to do with being aware of where the other person is at. And roles can be reversed overnight. Enjoy!”

If you looking to spice up your conversations with friends, significant other or your article club meeting, then The Conversations is a worthwhile read.  If you live in Nairobi, you can borrow a copy from the national library (this is a non-sponsored post).

You might also like:

All the Colors We Will See By Patrice Gopo

The Year Is Not over Yet

How I Find New Reads

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