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Of course, the proximate reasons we travel are many and various: as de Botton explains. Using the travel experiences of great writers and artists, like Van Gogh, Ruskin, Huysmans and Wordsworth (in Provence, Venice, Belgium and the Lake District respectively), de Botton shows that men will travel to see beautiful buildings, or climb beautiful mountains, or make love to beautiful (and comparatively amoral) women. But, using the same artists, de Botton also shows that there is an underlying theme to all travel: the urge for difference, for the rhapsody of change. That this is an urge more often disappointed than gratified only makes the condition more poignant. One of de Botton's best chapters, on Flaubert, amplifies this tragicomic point: the French novelist spent enervating years in genteel Normandy longing for the sensual splendours of Egypt, then, when he finally reached the pyramids, he promptly lapsed into maudlin nostalgia for rainy, bourgeois Rouen.
If there are flaws in this, de Botton's latest and perhaps most readable book, they are the usual suspects: just occasionally the author comes across as a bit long-winded and self-regarding. However, this is such a pleasant and effortless read even these flaws can be taken as endearing characteristics--like the lizards who kip in the bath in your otherwise idyllic holiday villa.--Sean Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A very good book on why we travel for 'fun', exploring the subject from both personal and historical view points. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Arboreal Cephalopod
Perhaps it was the subject matter but although I really enjoy Alain de Bottons writings this was not my favorite. Still a good read though.Published 1 month ago by Mr M E Docker
I can see what he was aiming at but I found it too anecdotal and a little tedious.Published 2 months ago by Firefly
A most enlightening book pointing the way to mindfulness in everyday life so that the commonplace becomes new and wonderful each day - seeing your surroundings as you would see... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Maggie Gothard
Alan de Botton has a rare ability to delve deep into the mundane and open a veritable positive pandoras box of possibillities. Absolutely adored this book!Published 10 months ago by IrishReader