Paul Honore, In Praise of Slow

I wanted this book last Christmas, but I had to buy it myself after one of my students reviewed it for the nonfiction class I'm teaching this semester.

Gist: slow down. Take your time, and you'll live more richly. Eat slowly and well, and you'll enjoy it more but weigh less. Spend more time on sex (hurrah!), and it'll be better for both of you. This sort of thing.

It's a rallying cry and commonsensical and such a relief. I want to get behind it, and talk about how much I enjoyed peeling my own carrots today, from my garden, that I'll cook into soup tomorrow with chicken stock I made myself from the saved and frozen bones of various chicken meals we've had over the last month or two.

But I can't get behind it. Not the way I'd like, because it reads like a wealthy person's manual for a hobby that looks like social justice but ends up snobbish. I want to live more deeply, pace Thoreau's "deliberately," but remember that Thoreau had friends he could stay with, and no real need to live that way. Honore's case studies, too many of them, are people who got far enough ahead in wealth accumulation that they could coast on their wealth; they see their lives as downshifted and simplified, but there are those who would see their downshifted lives as luxurious.

Damn boomers, I say. I say it too often, but today I mean it.

Live slowly and deeply, friends. I'm continuing to try that myself, as I have been for the last few years (in spite of my punishing work schedule), but if I think of Honore's cases, I get cranky, and that doesn't help me reach the depth of calm I'm looking for.


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