From Publishers Weekly
A former "speedaholic," an award-winning Canadian journalist advocates living a slower, more measured existence, in virtually every area, a philosophy he defines as "balance." Honoré's personal wake-up call came when he began reading one-minute bedtime stories to his two-year-old son in order to save time. The absurdity of this practice dramatized how he, like most of the world, was caught up in a speed culture that probably began with the Industrial Revolution, was spurred by urbanization and increased dramatically with 20th-century advances in technology. The author explores, in convincing and skillful prose, a quiet revolution known as "the slow movement," which is attempting to integrate the advances of the information age into a lifestyle that is marked by an "inner slowness" that gives more depth to relationships with others and with oneself. Although there is no official movement, Honoré credits Carol Petrini, an Italian culinary writer and founder of the slow food movement in Italy, with spearheading the trend to using fresh local foods, grown with sustainable farming techniques that are consumed in a leisurely manner with good company. The author also explores other slow movements, such as the practice of Tantric sex (mindful sexual union as a road to enlightenment), complementary and alternative medicine, new urbanism and the importance of leisure activities like knitting, painting and music. For the overprogrammed and stressed, slow and steady may win the race.
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Tempted by a book of "one-minute bedtime stories" to read to his son and thereby save time while fulfilling, albeit barely, the paternal role, Honore had a moment of truth. Speed, he realized, was a cultural addiction that, far from enhancing his life, was eroding his pleasure in it. He set about finding those swimming--slowly, of course, but strongly--against the tide. Prime among them is Slow Food, started in Italy to support that nation's time-honored approach to making cheeses, wines, and other regional foods. Now promoting the joys of the table and connection to regional agriculture internationally, Slow Food is one of a growing number of organizations urging us to slow down to enjoy life more. Whether advocating gentle alternative medical therapies (e.g., massage), tantric sex, musical compositions that take ages to perform, or the deceleration of childhood, these organizations share the beliefs that faster isn't better, and more is rarely enough. Honore's engaging report on the tortoises among the hares should be embraced by those with quality-of-life and environmental concerns. Patricia Monaghan
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