Love: A Philadelphia Affair

 LOVE at the Philadelphia International Airport, Terminal D, March 2016 through September 2016. For more photos, please go here.

Kephart, Beth. Love: A Philadelphia Affair. Temple Univ. 2015. 140p. photos. ISBN 9781439913154. $24.50. TRAVphiladelphia101615The tourism promotion motto of the Philadelphia region is “the place that loves you back.” This aptly named collection based on Philadelphia Inquirer columns is a resident’s love song to the city and its suburbs. Kephart has written on the region before in Flow, her wonderful book on Philadelphia’s iconic Schuykill River. Here she waxes poetic about some of the city’s famous landmarks, such as Reading Terminal Market and 30th Street Station. The author also conjures up the less-well-known Woodlands Cemetery and the suburb of Glenside. She particularizes places on specific dates with specific sunlight. This isn’t a tourist’s book in the sense that a visitor is going to find practical information about where to go. Rather it is an evocation of what Philadelphia is like through the pen of a gifted writer. So the native will find memories stirred and the tourist will be stimulated to visit. It is also somewhat autobiographical. For example, the author writes about Locust Walk at the heart of the University of Pennsylvania based on her college years.

Verdict Kephart has written in many genres, from young adult fiction to poetry; here she adds another excellent nonfiction book for the general reader. Recommended.—David Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Libs., Philadelphia

Library Journal Review 

"Love is a soulful exploration of such public places as Reading Terminal Market, Old City, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art through a deeply personal perspective." — From an interview in Amtrak's ARRIVE magazine, November 2015

"... a wide-eyed, reflective collection of personal essays that embrace and celebrate the warts-and-all beauty of our unjustly maligned city. Philly could use a little affection, and Kephart delivers it without overt sentimentality. — Hobart Rowland, Main Line Today

A Best Book of 2015, Savvy Verse and Wit 

LOVE has been chosen as the Let's Discuss It Pick by the Upper Dublin and Wissahickon Valley Public Libraries. Please join us for a memorable evening, November 5th. More here.

My conversation about LOVE, with Marciarose Shestack, at the Free Library of Philadelphia, here in both podcast and videocast.

Talking LOVE on iHeart radio, with Loraine Ballard.

A conversation about LOVE on WURD, here.

An interview with Nathaniel Popkin of Hidden City, here.

LOVE in Philadelphia Style, here.

Talking about the power of love (and "The Voice"), in HuffPo here

Talking about my tours through the city, with LOVE, in this Philadelphia Inquirer story, here.



A Philadelphia Affair
Beth Kephart

Philadelphia has been at the heart of many books by award-winning author Beth Kephart, but none more so than the affectionate collection Love. This volume of personal essays and photographs celebrates the intersection of memory and place. Kephart writes lovingly, reflectively about what Philadelphia means to her. She muses about meandering on SEPTA trains, spending hours among the armor in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and taking shelter at Independence Mall during a downpour.

In Love, Kephart returns to Reading Terminal Market at Thanksgiving: “This abundant, bristling market is, in November, the most unlonesome place around.” She ponders the artists of Old City. She studies the geometry of streets and considers the history of sidewalks.

Kephart also extends her journeys to the suburbs—Glenside, Bryn Mawr, and Ardmore—and beyond, to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; Stone Harbor, New Jersey; and Wilmington, Delaware. What emerges is a valentine to the City of Brotherly Love and its environs. In Love, Philadelphia is “more than its icons, bigger than its tagline.”

“Once again Beth Kephart enlightens her readers about her love affair with Philadelphia in her new book, Love. She explores the everyday and historical aspects of the City of Brotherly Love and brings them to life. Simplistic, beautifully chosen words engage the reader, painting a picture of the ordinary and making it extraordinary—and truly authentic. Well done and well worth the read.”—Jack Ferguson, President and CEO, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

Love is a lovely literary tour of places and spaces in and around Philadelphia. Kephart does a wonderful job of drawing you into her emotional connections to neighborhoods, to transportation routes, to some of the truly fascinating and iconic buildings around this ever-changing city, and to places that draw you outside Philadelphia—but not so far that you cannot return quickly. Her lyrical prose instantly unites you with streets you’ve walked down before—but now with a bit more attention to details than you ever considered before. Seen through Kephart’s eyes and words, Philadelphia is a place of new beginnings.”—Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director, Free Library of Philadelphia

In her new book, Love, Beth Kephart beautifully captures the heart and soul of our city. She captures its complexity by writing eloquently about its beauty, the respect for the past, the resilience of its citizens, and an embrace of creativity and innovation unfolding at the speed of light. Setting an extraordinary backdrop of some of our city’s and region’s most beloved sites, Kephart paints a picture of an area where the past, present, and future come together to create a unique and wonderful place that is exciting for those of us who live here and a great treat for those who travel here from across the country and the globe.”—Jane Golden, Executive Director, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of twenty books, including Going Over, Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir, Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River, and Ghosts in the Garden: Reflections on Endings, Beginnings, and the Unearthing of Self. She has been nominated for a National Book Award, has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, and has won the national Speakeasy Poetry Prize. Kephart writes a monthly column on the intersection of memory and place for the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a frequent contributor to the Chicago Tribune. She teaches memoir at the University of Pennsylvania and blogs daily at

Philadelphia Region/General Interest/Urban Studies
112 pages, 39 halftones, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2”
Cloth ISBN 978-1-4399-1315-4 $24.50


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