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3.3 out of 5 stars36
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a book for which my preference is to dip in and out of it. This is not a text for people who like tight structure and tangible outcomes. It is arguably indulgent because it is so evocative yet does not reach any conclusions - it is a book full of almost sensuous descriptions conjuring up all sorts of feelings and visions that will depend on your life experience. The book is, in my view, successful because it does summon up strong and often nostalgic images from lines like - "listening in bed at night to the Westminster Chimes extending their ritornello every quarter of an hour in the kitchen". However, be prepared for the intensity of the text which just brings forth one image after another and,that's part of the reason why maybe the book is better in small doses.

The analogy I'd make is that to some people the description of a fine wine might be exciting, for example, "a fruity, full bodied flavour with a hint of spice and an after taste of woodiness" - some people will be enticed by this description, others might say it's a lot of pretentious nonsense. This book is exactly the same in the way it can be perceived.

In summary, this is a nicely presented and unusual book which, for the right person, could make a good gift but it isn't for everyone.
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on 30 May 2016
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Francoise Heritier's book is not a novel, but rather a 64 page diary of sorts, in which each page features a list of what Hertier thinks of as the 'sweetness' within her life's experience: those moments to enjoy and reflect upon with pleasure. This is bookended with a brief introduction and final chapter, which explains that this project began as a correspondence with a friend, who she thought was overlooking the small pleasures of everyday life. As such, it is rather an indulgent book- one for the senses and to inspire you to look into the things you yourself enjoy, rather than being prose you can follow and that comes to a satisfying conclusion.

What I liked here was the concept. Hertier's own experiences, her sensory pleasures and the moments she has been able to experience within her own time on this planet may not be in line with your own. But the idea of looking for the little things to treasure, and that each day can offer beautiful respites in what can be a harsh life is a great lesson to remember. If you enjoy mindfulness and introspection, then this may be a nice one to help get your own thoughts going.

It definitely won't be for everyone's taste, but for those who like description and who like to practice reflection within their lives, then this is a nice volume to dip in and out of on occasion; perhaps in order to inspire and trigger your own thoughts of precious moments.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The writer of this small book does say at the start that she has never known poverty or much illness in her life.
I think there lies part of the problem perhaps for many readers.
When a person has been that lucky then it's easy for them to sound a bit smug and self obsessed as they list all the sweet moments they recall experiencing.
The writer composed book this as essays that she sent to a friend. He had made a remark of how he had "stolen" a week out of his busy life to spend a week somewhere in remote Scotland.
Her response is to say that life is meant to be lived with attention paid to all the good things one can possibly experience, some of which can be mundane.
She was chastising him while trying sound inspirational I think,

There a lot of attention just now to Mindfulness and I think that does the same message without the smugness Back in the 1960's/70's we called it Being Here Now, (famous book by Ram Dass).

Her list of sweet experiences might do it for you. She may help you to pay more attention to the pleasure of a sunny day, a pleasant walk, a good meal etc etc.
Or she may irritate you with how lucky she has been all her life.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 April 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a beautiful looking well-made book with attractive print on nice-feeling paper. It is just a shame the words did not match its physical charms.

Try to imagine the facebook and twitter feeds of your most annoying acquaintance. That....times ten.

A busy doctor remarks that he has "stolen" a week's holiday on the Isle of Skye. This sets the author to thinking - here is a busy man who is missing the finer things in life. His days are so packed with work and obligations that he has no time to cherish those idle moments of pleasure. He talks of stealing a measly week off.

Francoise sets out to send him a list of all those little moments and pleasures which make up the sweetness of life. (The doctor of course probably gets his jollies from having a proper important job which he is good at, and that surely is his business!)

The bulk of the book is then just a massive list of what Francoise regards as life-affirming moments. Fair enough, but it comes across with a whiff of "look at me, and the depth of my interests and appreciation" So she lists bits from films, music, TV programmes, encounters with food, drink, cats, puppies.....

This goes on for chapter after chapter, with the occasional opening line such as "Is that the end?" (sadly no) or "I'll go on at the risk of boring you" (this is her at her most insightful)

It really boils down to "stop and smell the roses from time to time". I mean, who knew?

Smell a rose by all means but avoid this book. It smells of something else entirely.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"The Sweetness of Life" is perhaps a slightly misleading title for this. Whilst it is a nicely written book, and a slightly-deeper-than-normal beach read, if you don't want to be caught dead with the latest chick-lit novel, it is basically "The Fluffy World of the Butterfly Effect".

Seriously. The majority of this book is about the 'what if' consequence of what happens to us in our lives, focusing on the little things. It's not as hard hitting as the film of the same name, but the basic premise is the same.

It's not a book that's going to change my life in any way, shape, or form, but it was pleasant enough to read and I wouldn't dissuade anyone interested in 'life stories' from purchasing this book.
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on 25 February 2015
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I don't often give up reading a book but I did with this. I really like the idea that the author is putting across - essentially that we need to make time for and notice the 'sweet things' in life, but the writing style was not for me.

Unless I have missed something, the book is almost entirely a list of the things that the author considers to be the sweetness of life, to start with I was interested and agreed with a lot of things listed but after a few pages I found myself a bit bored. Flicking a few pages on and then to the back of the book I realised that was basically it and decided to stop reading.

A nice idea but perhaps could have been written in a more interesting and appealing way.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A slender and brief text, this is a whistlestop race through the need to take time. One can ask, quite rightly, why rush taking your time? It's a valid point. Without structure, as such, it's a meander, a somewhat unfocused walk, and focuses on a somewhat abstract (at times) list of things : there's little about the practicalities of enjoying the sweetness of life, the rush of wind in your hair (if you have any), the age of time, and the importance of tea. I was hoping this would.. expand my mind, but is too brief, too short, and too.. random, to really be able to apply as a regular text around how to enjoy the world we live in.
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VINE VOICEon 5 June 2015
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What makes life worth living to you? For many it is not the 'big ideas' or the thought of changing society/the world but the small, if mundane to others, events and sensations which we perceive everyday. It is the second to second, minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day of life which bubbles up in memories and makes you smile.

This is a book of moments which, after reading the introduction and afterward, is an excellent book to open at random and just start reading. The list is hypnotic and makes you remember that no matter who you are or what your situation there is always something to make you carry on living.
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VINE VOICEon 30 June 2016
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I’m going to have to stick my hand up on this one and say it wasn’t for me. That perhaps makes it difficult to review in a fair way…. and that perhaps makes me feel guilty over what may be an enriching experience to some people. I found the somewhat brief text lacked direction as I moved through it page by page. This is a nice idea, and perhaps I tackled it in the wrong way (perhaps dipping in and out would have been better?). Not the normal text I would read and it will certainly have its niche, with a readership that likes the idea. This may be a book I revisit – but for now perhaps it was the wrong book at the wrong time.
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VINE VOICEon 1 February 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This was a really interesting little book. So many examples of situations which should evoke emotion but that we go through or participate in without a thought. Things that, should we reflect upon them, could bring us joy, just little things. We live each day dismissing tiny things like stroking a purring cat, seeing a sunset, feeling the breeze in your face, smelling a beautiful rose, enjoying the feeling of climbing into freshly washed sheets etc.
Reading this book makes you think how wonderful life really is, if we live in the moment and take notice.
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