Thursday, June 01, 2006

In which philosophy happens. Or does it. If no one is there to hear it happen.

So I am trying to kick-start the habit of reading again, and I have finally got around to reading an ace book from Our Lady Soon to Be Ex-of Peru. You know. her.

It is by Alain de Botton* who is appears to be some kind of philosopher, essayist and thinker of great thinks. I had not heard of him, but he has a nice home on the www that can be found here.

The book is called The Art of Travel. As Lady D said, it takes you a little while to get into what he's doing, but it's a really interesting look at the way we travel, why, and what we get out of it. Each chapter takes in a location, or type of location, and while looking at Alain's responses to it, also considers the feelings of great artists and thinkers.

This sounds a bit flakey, but actually works very well, and it's really well-written. I really liked the chapter on the physical act of traveling itself (with our guides Baudelaire and Edward Hopper - an unlikely partnership you would think).

"Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than a moving plane, ship or train." Says our Al. And he isn't just whistling dixie.

It's also a very human introduction to some of history's madder, badder and downright more fun people. I shall go and find more about Alexander von Humboldt one of these days. He sounds like a 'can-do' sort of chap.

Anyway. Go and have a rummage around and see what you think, if you fancy. Being the big 'ol sap I am I'll probably check out Alain's Essays in Love next.

Incidentally, the book was part of great set of birthday presents, based around the senses. I think it slotted into the 'sight' category.

On completely another tack, I am still only getting my BB knowledge third hand on blogs and other meeeja, but this Kit-Kat advert is brilliant. Thanks Low Culture dot co dot UK.

*It's funny because it looks like Bottom.

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