- Mass Market Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: Picador; Open Market Ed edition (1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330355430
- ISBN-13: 978-0330355438
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,108,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
How Proust Can Change Your Life Mass Market Paperback – Import, 1998
|New from||Used from|
Mass Market Paperback, Import
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Top Customer Reviews
Consider the chapter titles. The fourth is "How to Suffer Successfully." The seventh is "How to Open Your Eyes." The eighth is "How to be Happy in Love." The last, and my favorite, is "How to Put Books Down." The author draws on the ideas and characters found in Proust's masterpiece and renders Proust's response to these issues. All of this is very wittily done. The whole thing is leavened with fascinating biographical tidbits concerning this strange, brilliant man, Marcel Proust. In that last chapter Mr. de Botton (apparently a Brit) presents us with Proust's view of books and their proper place in life:
"It is one of the great and wonderful characteristics of good books (which allows us to see the role at once essential yet limited that reading may play in our spiritual lives) that for the author they may be called "Conclusions" but for the reader "Incitements." We feel very strongly that our own wisdom begins where that of the author leaves off, and we would like him to provide us with answers when all he is able to do is provide us with desires . . . . That is the value of reading, and also its inadequacy. To make it into a discipline is to give too large a role to what is only an incitement. Reading is on the threshold of the spiritual life; it can introduce us to it: it does not constitute it.Read more ›
One tiny gripe. De Botton does not always identify the works he is quoting from. We don't need to know specific page numbers, but it would be nice to know if a quotation is from one of the volumes of IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME, or from an essay or letter. In one case, I wasn't sure if the quote was Proust's or Ruskin's.
Instead, de Botton accomplishes several things. He parodies self-help books, he undertakes a humorous and highly personal exploration of Proust, and he makes a witty argument about how literature can aid us in our daily lives. The heart of de Botton's message is actually paradoxical. From one perspective he is saying, "don't take literature too seriously" and from another he is saying, "literature is a critical tool in everyone's life".
I believe that all of us essentially reinvent what we read and use it to interpret our lives and the world around us. De Botton simply provides a humorous and intelligent blue print of this natural process.
De Botton manages this with ease. His book is an excellent precis of Proustian concerns - time, love, friendship, literature - told in deceptively simple language masking thoroughness and complexity. His aren't the last words on these subjects, they are starting points which allow the virgin reader a map when starting on the vast terrain of A La Recherche.
His own prose is elegant, suggestive and sometimes very funny, while his emphasis on the personal is at the same time endearing, a way into the book, and true to Proust. He fills in his narrative with much biographical, historical and anecdotal matter, drawing on letters, newspapers, memoires, which are both illuminating and entertaining.
His own method is seemingly the opposite of Proust's, immediately lucid and precise, but the form of his book follows the Proustian pattern, whereby the book heading in one direction turns in on itself, becomes a book about itself, its own creation, even negating itself as it tells us to abandon Proust if we want to be true to the spirit of Proust.
The book isn't perfect - sometimes the prose is a little TOO easy; both Proust and De Botton come across as near-saintly figures, full of understanding and kindness, when the truth (with Proust at any rate) is much messier; and the last two chapters are a little rushed. But few books outside the thriller genre have delighted me and kept me reading feverishly to the end like this little trinket.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Cool and chill and fresh. Proust was a wise and honest man. Alain I think may have obsessed over him too much, breaking one of Prousts "When To Put The Book Down". Read morePublished 1 month ago by Frank
If you have always fancied a bit of Proust, read this first. Its a guide book that will show you how to approach the old master!Published 1 month ago by LEE MAN
Again another recommendation from the Tim Ferriss podcast. It's an interesting read and provokes a massive amount of introspection. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Marcel Proust’s brother Robert supposed that only serious illness or a broken leg were likely to provide the opportunity to read À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lost John
Who can deny the craftsmanship of one who can dissect the complexities of Proust and serve up a multi course feast of insights. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Steve Balk
This book took me a couple of chapters to grasp but it eventually hit me! These are great points about life and how we should live it.Published 3 months ago by Geo Monte
I would consider Alain De Botton one of the great modern philosophers of our time. The word philosopher might make you cringe, and I get it, but go listen to his interview on the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Philip A Serzo