I’m going to recommend a book now that I have yet to make it to the end of. That might seem a bit ironic, but it’s not because this book isn’t engaging: it’s almost the opposite. It provokes thoughts that actually distract me from reading on. Suddenly I find myself reevaluating my belongings and surroundings. My initial interest in reading The Architecture of Happiness (Alain de Botton) was based on a misinterpretation of the title itself. I’m just going to say it, I didn’t read the back cover. I anticipated some delightful reading about the foundations (pun intended) of our general contentment as people. This was a rather broad expectation. The first few pages had me hooked, drawing parallels between the environments we inhabit, the objects we own, the energy we exude, & our overall enjoyment of life. So anyway, I wanted to share some of my favorite passages:
“It seems reasonable to suppose that people will possess some of the qualities of the buildings they are drawn to: to expect that if they are alive to the charm of an ancient farmhouse with walls made of irregular chiseled stones set in light mortar, if they can appreciate the play of candlelight against hand-decorated tiles, can be seduced by libraries with shelves filled from floor to ceiling with books that emit a sweet dusty smell and are content to lie on the floor tracing the knotted border of an intricate Turkoman rug, then they will know something about patience and stability, tenderness and sweetness, intelligence and worldliness, skepticism and trust. We expect that such enthusiasts will be committed to infusing their whole lives with the values embodied in the objects of their appreciation.”
“In essence, what works of design and architecture talk to us about is the kind of life that would most appropriately unfold within and around them. They tell us of certain moods that they seek to encourage and sustain in their inhabitants. While keeping us warm and helping us in mechanical ways, they simultaneously hold out an invitation for us to be specific sorts of people. They speak of visions of happiness.”
Eloquent, right?! Go read this book! If you are local, you can borrow it (underlined and all) from me when I’m finished.