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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

A Note on “Work” at the Start of a New Year

At the start of a new year (lower case!) I’ve been thinking about “work” and its definitions and all that its connotations entail. Back in the summer of ’11 I read de Botton’s “The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work” and was, at first, put off by his narrative style, and then I became engrossed with it. Why the change? He took the idea of work to give us basic concepts based on numerous professions. This provided a balance to his investigation, which is about what we do and how it’s done, rather than how it makes us feel (or worse, for a book, How we SHOULD feel).

july 18, 2011

“There are few jobs in which years’ worth of labour can be viewed in a quick scan of four walls and even fewer opportunities granted to us to gather all our intelligence and sensitivity in a single place. Our exertions generally find no enduring physical correlatives. We are diluted in gigantic intangible collective projects, which leave us wondering what we did last year and, more profoundly, where we have gone and quite what we have amounted to. We confront our lost energies in the pathos of the retirement party.”

– Alain de Botton, “The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work” (“painting”)


What Beauty is my newest novel, a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

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