Alain de Botton’s book of essays on love and romance written in novel prose about an unnamed narrator in the beginning to the end of a romance. When I started the book, I found out that it is on Peter Boxall’s 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. That was a pleasant surprise, and it is nicely unconventional to be put in on the list. While is technically fiction, it really is a book of essays in an unconventional format. I have read de Botton’s The Art of Travel and found his subdued, analytical writing style and subtle humor very comfortable to read. The book works for me completely because I am a romantic and philosophical. I found myself relating to it such as Number 17 in False Notes discusses a lover’s view of their partner compared to the family/parents view of them, and I think this is very true and honest especially in my case. In family, I seem to be viewed as this other person compared to the world. It also has the aforementioned humor which involves diagrams, equations, and other sly random funny bits. I liked this, but then again, I think the style, essays, and romanticism worked for me personally that may not interest others.
I loved his book about Proust – this one is now on my list, too!
Great post! I have his “The architecture of Happiness” on my shelf, but maybe I also should include “On Love” on my readinglist…
This one sounds interesting form-wise and content-wise!
I’m also a fan of de Botton. Have you read Status Anxiety? I thought that was one of his best. On Love I have yet to read so was interested to read your review
If you’re interested, there’s a new version of Arukiyomi’s 1001 books spreadsheet. Along with some cool new features, there are lists of both the revised 1001 books and those that were removed from the new 2008 list. That’s right, the list has changed!
If you want a free copy of the spreadsheet, head over to Arukiyomi’s blog.