Sunday, July 01, 2012

Book: The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

The short half-live of my memories is quite worrying. I often forget how old I am, where I have been on holiday, the names of friends and family, and now I am forgetting which books I have read - the realisation that I had already read The Art of Travel arrived only when I was some three quarters of the way through the book.

Anyway, it is a very good book indeed and still keeps it's four star rating. De Botton writes with such clarity that his words are always a joy to read. Also, unlike many other contemporary idea based books, De Botton can always be counted on to present a host of interrelated ideas, which both refresh and engage the readers' grey cells.

In The Art of Travel, the works and lives of the likes of John Ruskin, Wordsworth, van Humboldt, Van Gough and Xavier de Maistre and brought fourth to help us open our eyes to the world around us, be it a far away place to be travelled to or his own immediate surroundings. I particularly liked how John Ruskin used art as a means to appreciate nature:

"I believe that the sight is more important that the sight is a more important thing than the drawing; and I would rather teach drawing that my pupils may love to learn nature, than teach the looking at nature that they may learn to draw." - Ruskin

"We can see beauty well enough just by opening our eyes, but how long this beauty survives in memory depends on how intentionally we have apprehended it." - Alain De Botton


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