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The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton
  

The Art of Travel

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November 2011 Guest Editor Victoria Hislop selects The Art of Travel...

Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel is a favourite work of non-fiction and only one of several brilliant books by de Botton. His gift, in my view, is his warmth and good humour - he is absolutely brilliant but he does not baffle us with his intellect. He achieves this by diluting complex ideas with wit and levity so that we understand them and even enjoy reading them. I would have studied philosophy at university if the texts books had been written by de Botton. He is a genius and a great communicator - and there is much to be learned from someone who makes complex ideas so comprehensible.

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Offers insights into things that range from holiday romance to hotel mini-bars, airports to sight-seeing.

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Synopsis

The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

With the help of a selection of writers, artists and thinkers - including Flaubert, Edward Hopper, Wordsworth and Van Gogh - Alain de Botton's bestselling The Art of Travel provides invaluable insights into everything from holiday romance to hotel mini-bars, airports to sight-seeing. The perfect antidote to those guides that tell us what to do when we get there, The Art of Travel tries to explain why we really went in the first place - and helpfully suggests how we might be happier on our journeys.

Reviews

'Lucid, fluid, uplifting'
Sunday Times

'The bestselling author of The Consolations of Philosophy now journeys into the world of travel, focusing on how many of us look forward to 'getting away from it all yet often feel wildly disappointed when we get there. To take a closer look at why this happens Alain de Botton jets off from winter-grim Hammersmith to Barbados, noting how even the most cynical among us is a sucker for a holiday brochure. Drawing our attention to daily aspects of life that miraculously don't make it into the glossy pages, he takes us in a grubby taxi past the stray howling dogs, to the hotels where ugly air-conditioning units growl and rumble in the shadows - before informing us of the impact we ourselves have on that little slice of heaven we've just invaded. Next we visit a service station between Manchester and London, where de Botton's ability to find 'poetry in such grim surrounds is both impressive and thought-provoking. Amsterdam, the Lake District, Madrid and the Sinai Desert are discussed with gently humorous observations, as are airports, mobile phone junkies and hotel mini-bars. De Botton's companions are well chosen: Wordsworth, Baudelaire, Job and van Gogh to name but a few. Combining their observations and experiences with his own, he eschews the glut of patronising travel guides that tell us what they think we should do when we get there, and concentrates on why we wanted to go there in the first place, even suggesting how we could have a better time. He's been acclaimed for taking philosophy back to 'its simplest and most important purpose: helping us to live our lives', and here he's done it again. Next time you're thinking of travelling, forget the guides and read this instead; chances are you'll enjoy your trip all the more.' (Kirkus UK)

About the Author

Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1969 and now lives in London. He is a writer of essayistic books, which refer both to his own experiences and ideas- and those of artists, philosophers and thinkers. It's a style of writing that has been termed a 'philosophy of everyday life.'

His first book, Essays in Love [titled On Love in the US], minutely analysed the process of falling in and out of love. The style of the book was unusual, because it mixed elements of a novel together with reflections and analyses normally found in a piece of non-fiction. It's a book of which many readers are still fondest.

Author photo © Vincent Starr

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Book Info

Publication date

29th May 2003

Author

Alain de Botton

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Author's Website

www.alaindebotton.com/cv.as...
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Publisher

Penguin Books Ltd

Format

Paperback
272 pages

Categories

Travel
Biography / Autobiography
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Travel writing
Western philosophy, from c 1900 -

ISBN

9780241970065

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