Monday, November 27, 2006


As if I haven't said enough...

...about Alain de Botton this year, here's a bit more: Bookslut has an interview with him this month. And I don't think I followed up after finishing his new book The Architecture of Happiness. Yes, it's about the promise and failings of architecture, but it's more about how we are drawn to beautiful spaces (and beautiful objects of all kinds) because they promise happiness and contentment. He has a wonderful sympathy for inanimate objects and what they bring to our lives. This book of his is, in fact, another philosophy book about how to recognize one's own feelings about things, how to figure it all out. Much of the book is made up of his gentle observations about our lives:

"Our jobs make relentless calls on a narrow band of our faculties, reducing our chances of achieving rounded personalities and leaving us to suspect (often in the gathering darkness of a Sunday evening) that much of who we are, or could be, has gone unexplored." (p.157)

"It is books, poems and paintings which often give us the confidence to take seriously feelings in ourselves that we might otherwise never have thought to acknowledge." (p.262)

He could write a book about pencils (oh, wait, it's already been done...) and I would shut all the doors, pull the shades down, unplug the phone, turn on my reading lamp, and read it straight through. He speaks my language when he talks about what's important in life: beauty, generosity, modesty, comfort, melancholy, tenderness. As if that's not enough about him, he was on Talk of the Nation in October (for half an hour), and All Things Considered a few weeks ago (five minutes). And I keep hearing that his new three-part series will be on PBS sometime soon, but I can't find any listings for it yet. One more quote from the book, to finish:

"As we write, so we build: to keep a record of what matters to us." (p.123)

Great to find another de Botton fan! Are you on, by chance?
I'm not on Goodreads, no. But I am a huge de Botton fan. I have read everything more than twice, and am very upset that the dvds aren't available in the U.S. (at least not for whatever region our standard dvd players are for). I caught a few episodes of a series of his on PBS two years ago. LOVED IT.
Thanks for the note. Wow--I had no idea that he did a series for PBS! I'll have to look for it--thanks for tipping me off.
Check out his website - he is part of a television production company and you can view clips there. His work is usually broadcast in the U.K. but PBS showed his series "Status Anxiety" - three parts I think and I only saw two of them, if I remember correctly (I may not). Very very good...
Great! I didn't realize he had clips up there--I'll have to go through it more thoroughly. Thanks!
Oh, and by the way, I saw pix of a couple of your paintings on your blog--really nice stuff.
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