With an introduction by Sheila Heti A unique love story and a classic work of philosophy, rooted in the mysterious workings of the human heart and mind. Perhaps it is true that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing, we cannot properly speak until there is someone who can understand what we are saying in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved. A man and a woman meet over casual conversation on a flight from Paris to London, and so begins a love story - from first kiss to first argument, elation to heartbreak, and everything in between. Each stage of the relationship is illuminated with startling clarity, as de Botton explores emotions often felt but rarely understood. With the verve of a novelist and the insight of a philosopher, Alain de Botton uncovers the mysteries of the human heart. Essays In Love is an iconic book - one that should be read by anyone who has ever fallen in love.
Perhaps it is true that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing, we cannot properly speak until there is someone who can understand what we are saying in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved.A man and a woman meet over casual conversation on a flight from Paris to London, and so begins a love story - from first kiss to first argument, elation to heartbreak, and everything in between. Each stage of the relationship is illuminated with startling clarity, as de Botton explores emotions often felt but rarely understood.With the verve of a novelist and the insight of a philosopher, Alain de Botton uncovers the mysteries of the human heart. Essays In Love is an iconic book - one that should be read by anyone who has ever fallen in love.PRAISE FOR ALAIN DE BOTTON'The book's success has much to do with its beautifully modelled sentences, its wry humour and its unwavering deadpan respect for its reader's intelligence . . . full of keen observation and flashes of genuine lyricism, acuity and depth.' Francine Prose, New Republic 'Witty, funny, sophisticated, neatly tied up, and full of wise and illuminating insights.' P. J. Kavanagh, Spectator 'De Botton is a national treasure.' Susan Hill 'I doubt if de Botton has written a dull sentence in his life.' Jan Morris, New Statesman 'Single-handedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us to live our lives.' Independent
With an introduction by comedian and novelist David Baddiel A novel in seven volumes, Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is considered a major literary work of the twentieth century. And even more crucially, one that you should have read by now. However, as one of its most distinguishing features is its staggering length, many of us feel intimidated and perhaps, even, fatigued at the thought of diving in. Alain de Botton’s hilarious and unexpected Proustian manual, is then, the perfect antidote to this problem. In How Proust Can Change Your Life, de Botton masterfully distils what Proust says about friendship, reading, being alive and taking your time, and mixes it with his own, no less nourishing commentary. As de Botton rereads Proust for our collective benefit, we see the continued relevance of his work and the rich and varied insights he can offer us, from how to reinvigorate your relationship to being a good host. This is Proust as you’ve never seen him before. He may even change your life.
In this rigorous and supremely honest book Alain de Botton helps us navigate the intimate and exciting – yet often confusing and difficult – experience that is sex. Few of us tend to feel we’re entirely normal when it comes to sex, and what we’re supposed to be feeling rarely matches up with the reality. This book argues that 21st-century sex is ultimately fated to be a balancing act between love and desire, and adventure and commitment. Covering topics that include lust, fetishism, adultery and pornography, Alain de Botton frankly articulates the dilemmas of modern sexuality, offering insights and consolation to help us think more deeply and wisely about the sex we are, or aren’t, having. One in the new series of books from The School of Life, launched May 2012: How to Stay Sane by Philippa Perry How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric How to Worry Less About Money by John Armstrong How to Change the World by John-Paul Flintoff How to Thrive in the Digital Age by Tom Chatfield How to Think More About Sex by Alain de Botton
A wide variety of extremist groups -- Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis -- share the oddly similar belief that a tiny shadowy elite rule the world from a secret room. In Them, journalist Jon Ronson has joined the extremists to track down the fabled secret room. As a journalist and a Jew, Ronson was often considered one of "Them" but he had no idea if their meetings actually took place. Was he just not invited? Them takes us across three continents and into the secret room. Along the way he meets Omar Bakri Mohammed, considered one of the most dangerous men in Great Britain, PR-savvy Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Thom Robb, and the survivors of Ruby Ridge. He is chased by men in dark glasses and unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp. In the forests of northern California he even witnesses CEOs and leading politicians -- like Dick Cheney and George Bush -- undertake a bizarre owl ritual. Ronson's investigations, by turns creepy and comical, reveal some alarming things about the looking-glass world of "us" and "them." Them is a deep and fascinating look at the lives and minds of extremists. Are the extremists onto something? Or is Jon Ronson becoming one of them?
Throughout his career, David Grossman has been a voice for peace and reconciliation in the Israeli-Palestinian divide. In this groundbreaking collection of essays on literature and politics, he addresses the conscience of present-day Israel, a country that has lost faith in its leaders and its ideals. Writing in the Dark ends with the speech in which Grossman famously attacked Israel's disastrous Lebanon war that tragically took the life of his twenty-one-year-old son, Uri. Moving, brave and clear-sighted, these essays on literature, political ethics and the morality of the imagination are a cri de coeur from a calm voice of reason at a time of doubt and despair.
SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER A brilliant new novel about love and marriage in the modern world - from the author the bestselling novel Essays in Love Modern love is never easy. Society is obsessed with stories of romance, but what comes after happily ever after? This is a love story with a difference. From dating to marriage, from having kids to having affairs, it follows the progress of a single ordinary relationship: tender, messy, hilarious, painful, and entirely un-Romantic. It is a love story for the modern world, chronicling the daily intimacies, the blazing rows, the endless tiny gestures that make up a life shared between two people. Moving and deeply insightful, The Course of Love offers us a window into essential truths about the nature of love.
Bestselling author Alain de Botton considers how our private homes and public edifices influence how we feel, and how we could build dwellings in which we would stand a better chance of happiness. In this witty, erudite look at how we shape, and are shaped by, our surroundings, Alain de Botton applies Stendhal’s motto that “Beauty is the promise of happiness” to the spaces we inhabit daily. Why should we pay attention to what architecture has to say to us? de Botton asks provocatively. With his trademark lucidity and humour, de Botton traces how human needs and desires have been served by styles of architecture, from stately Classical to minimalist Modern, arguing that the stylistic choices of a society can represent both its cherished ideals and the qualities it desperately lacks. On an individual level, de Botton has deep sympathy for our need to see our selves reflected in our surroundings; he demonstrates with great wisdom how buildings — just like friends — can serve as guardians of our identity. Worrying about the shape of our sofa or the colour of our walls might seem self-indulgent, but de Botton considers the hopes and fears we have for our homes at a new level of depth and insight. When shopping for furniture or remodelling the kitchen, we don’t just consider functionality but also the major questions of aesthetics and the philosophy of art: What is beauty? Can beautiful surroundings make us good? Can beauty bring happiness? The buildings we find beautiful, de Botton concludes, are those that represent our ideas of a meaningful life. The Architecture of Happiness marks a return to what Alain does best — taking on a subject whose allure is at once tantalizing and a little forbidding and offering to readers a completely beguiling and original exploration of the subject. As he did with Proust, philosophy, and travel, now he does with architecture. From the Hardcover edition.
Anyone who’s ever lost sleep over an unreturned phone call or the neighbor’s Lexus had better read Alain de Botton’s irresistibly clear-headed new book, immediately. For in its pages, a master explicator of our civilization and its discontents turns his attention to the insatiable quest for status, a quest that has less to do with material comfort than with love. To demonstrate his thesis, de Botton ranges through Western history and thought from St. Augustine to Andrew Carnegie and Machiavelli to Anthony Robbins. Whether it’s assessing the class-consciousness of Christianity or the convulsions of consumer capitalism, dueling or home-furnishing, Status Anxiety is infallibly entertaining. And when it examines the virtues of informed misanthropy, art appreciation, or walking a lobster on a leash, it is not only wise but helpful. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Any Baedeker will tell us where we ought to travel, but only Alain de Botton will tell us how and why. With the same intelligence and insouciant charm he brought to How Proust Can Save Your Life, de Botton considers the pleasures of anticipation; the allure of the exotic, and the value of noticing everything from a seascape in Barbados to the takeoffs at Heathrow. Even as de Botton takes the reader along on his own peregrinations, he also cites such distinguished fellow-travelers as Baudelaire, Wordsworth, Van Gogh, the biologist Alexander von Humboldt, and the 18th-century eccentric Xavier de Maistre, who catalogued the wonders of his bedroom. The Art of Travel is a wise and utterly original book. Don’t leave home without it. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Jonathan Franzen's Freedom was the runaway most-discussed novel of 2010, an ambitious and searching engagement with life in America in the twenty-first century. In The New York Times Book Review, Sam Tanenhaus proclaimed it "a masterpiece of American fiction" and lauded its illumination, "through the steady radiance of its author's profound moral intelligence, [of] the world we thought we knew." In Farther Away, which gathers together essays and speeches written mostly in the past five years, Franzen returns with renewed vigor to the themes, both human and literary, that have long preoccupied him. Whether recounting his violent encounter with bird poachers in Cyprus, examining his mixed feelings about the suicide of his friend and rival David Foster Wallace, or offering a moving and witty take on the ways that technology has changed how people express their love, these pieces deliver on Franzen's implicit promise to conceal nothing. On a trip to China to see first-hand the environmental devastation there, he doesn't omit mention of his excitement and awe at the pace of China's economic development; the trip becomes a journey out of his own prejudice and moral condemnation. Taken together, these essays trace the progress of unique and mature mind wrestling with itself, with literature, and with some of the most important issues of our day. Farther Away is remarkable, provocative, and necessary.
A “brilliant and hilarious” novel of the end times in America and one psychiatrist’s quest to save mankind, from a New York Times–bestselling author (Dallas Morning News). The United States seems to be on the brink of catastrophe. From the abandoned cars littering the highways (no one remembers how to fix them) to the endless hours spent on the golf course (now open twenty-four hours for those who can’t bother to wait until daylight to putt) to the starkly polarized political and religious factions dividing the country (which are increasingly difficult to tell apart), it is startlingly evident that the great experiment of the American Dream has failed. The only problem is that no one has noticed. No one, that is, except Dr. Thomas More. Dr. More, an alcoholic, womanizing, lapsed-Catholic psychiatrist, has invented the lapsometer: a machine capable of diagnosing and curing the spiritual afflictions that are speeding society toward its inevitable collapse. If used correctly, the lapsometer could make anxiety, depression, alienation, and racism things of the past. But, in the wrong hands, it could propel the nation even more quickly into chaos. Hailed as “vividly entertaining” by the Los Angeles Times and “profoundly moving” by the Milwaukee Journal, Love in the Ruins is a towering, mind-bending work of satirical speculative fiction by the National Book Award–winning author of The Moviegoer.
Dr. Samuel Johnson observed that everyone's life is a subject worthy of the biographer's art. Accused by a former girlfriend of being unable to empathize, the narrator of Alain de Botton's Kiss & Tell takes Johnson's idea to heart and decides to write about the next person who walks into his life. He meets Isabel Rogers, a production assistant at a small stationery company in London, apparently an ordinary woman. But as the biographer's understanding of Isabel deepens, she becomes remarkable. Her smallest quirks, private habits, and opinions become worthy of the most painstaking investigation-and unexpectedly attractive to her biographer.
Of Marilynne Robinson, Michael Arditti said that there is 'no contemporary novelist whose work I would rather read' However she is not only a writer of sharp, subtly moving prose, but also a rigorous thinker and incisive essayist. In this luminous new collection she returns to the themes which have preoccupied her bestselling novels: the place literature has in life, the role of faith in modern living, the contradictions inherent in human nature. Clear-eyed and forceful as ever, Robinson demonstrates once again why she is regarded as one of our best-loved writers.
Second-class petty officers Dalton Taylor and Chris Ingram have been best friends since coxswain's school. Now they're stationed together in the Harbor Patrol Unit of NAS Adams. They're content as friends, but secretly, they both ache for more. Neither makes a move, though; while Dalton is out and proud, Chris is closeted--even from his best friend. Then another coxswain's negligence nearly drowns Dalton. After a taste of how easily they could lose each other, neither man can keep his feelings hidden anymore, and it turns out love and sex come easy when you're falling for your best friend. Things aren't just heating up between the friends-turned-lovers, though. The Navy is investigating the accident, and the Harbor Patrol chief isn't going to let his star coxswain go down for dereliction of duty, even if saving him means throwing Dalton under the bus. As the threats and gaslighting pile up, Chris and Dalton need each other more than ever--as shipmates, friends, and lovers. But if their chief prevails, the only way they can save their careers is to let each other go.
In the summer of 2009, Alain de Botton will be invited by the owners of Heathrow airport to become their first ever Writer in Residence. He will be installed in the middle of Terminal 5 on a raised platform with a laptop connected to screens, enabling passengers to see what he is writing and to come and share their stories. He will meet travellers from around the world, and will be given unprecedented access to wander the airport and speak with everyone from window cleaners and baggage handlers to air traffic controllers and cabin crew. Working with the renowned documentary photographer Richard Baker, de Botton will produce an extraordinary meditation upon the nature of place, time, and our daily lives. He will explore the magical and the mundane, personal and collective experiences and the interactions of travellers and workers all over this familiar but mysterious site. Like all airports, Heathrow (the 15th century village of Heath Row lies beneath the short stay car park) is a 'non-place' that we by definition want to leave, but it also provides a window into many worlds - through the thousands of people it dispatches every day. A Week at the Airport is sure to delight de Botton's large following, and anyone interested in the stories behind the way we live.
The “dazzling” and essential portrayal of 1960s America from the author of South and West and The Year of Magical Thinking (The New York Times). Capturing the tumultuous landscape of the United States, and in particular California, during a pivotal era of social change, the first work of nonfiction from one of American literature’s most distinctive prose stylists is a modern classic. In twenty razor-sharp essays that redefined the art of journalism, National Book Award–winning author Joan Didion reports on a society gripped by a deep generational divide, from the “misplaced children” dropping acid in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district to Hollywood legend John Wayne filming his first picture after a bout with cancer. She paints indelible portraits of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes and folk singer Joan Baez, “a personality before she was entirely a person,” and takes readers on eye-opening journeys to Death Valley, Hawaii, and Las Vegas, “the most extreme and allegorical of American settlements.” First published in 1968, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has been heralded by the New York Times Book Review as “a rare display of some of the best prose written today in this country” and named to Time magazine’s list of the one hundred best and most influential nonfiction books. It is the definitive account of a terrifying and transformative decade in American history whose discordant reverberations continue to sound a half-century later.
In the tradition of Post Secret and Other People’s Love Letters, a crowdsourced compilation of letters, stories, and art work about the modern state of love and relationships, edited by rising filmmaker and beloved YouTube vlogger Will Darbyshire. “What would you say to your ex, without judgment?” This is the question filmmaker and vlogger Will Darbyshire posed to hundreds of thousands of his closest friends on YouTube. Seeking closure after a tough break-up, Will was driven to strike up an intimate conversation with his online audience, and to get at the heart of one of life’s unknowable yet universal mysteries: love. Over a period of six months, Will posed a series of questions to his audience and asked them to reveal their innermost feelings about their own romantic experiences in the form of hand-written letters, poems, photographs, and emails. The result is a curated collection of responses that are, at turns, funny, dark, confessional, awkward, comforting, and uplifting. This Modern Love is a compelling portrait of individual desires, fantasies, resentments, and fears that reminds us that, whether we’re in or out of love, we’re not alone.
Dr. Jeanne Safer has dedicated much of her decades' long career in psychotherapy to exploring taboo subjects that we all think about in private but seldom discuss in public. From conflicted sibling relationships to the choice not to have children, Safer's work has always been unflinching in its aim to dive deep into topics that make most of us blush, but which are present in all of our lives. In The Golden Condom, Safer turns her sharp and fearless eye to a subject perhaps more universal than any other-love in all its permutations. In The Golden Condom Safer interweaves her own experiences with those of a variety of memorable people, including her patients, telling a series of tales that investigate relationships--both healthy and toxic--that most of us don't escape life without experiencing at least once, including traumatic friendships, love after loss, unrequited or obsessional love and more. Never prescriptive and always entertaining, these stories will demolish any suspicion you might have that you're alone in navigating a turbulent romantic life, and will inspire you with the range of possibilities that exist to find love, however unconventional, and at any age.
A captivating collection of writings on Southern life by one of the masters of American literaturePublished just after Walker Percy’s death, Signposts in a Strange Land takes readers through the philosophical, religious, and literary ideas of one of the South’s most profound and unique thinkers. Each essay is laced with wit and insight into the human condition. From race relations and the mysteries of existence, to Catholicism and the joys of drinking bourbon, this collection offers a window into the underpinnings of Percy’s celebrated novels and brings to light the stirring thoughts and voice of a giant of twentieth century literature.