Nice to see Victoria Beale at the New Republic taking to task that well-compensated moralistic therapeutic atheist Alain de Botton, who, thankfully, has not really caught on as much in the U.S. Our homegrown equivalent of the type who “might read The Guardian on an iPad, buy ethical chocolate, and assert an interest in the Booker shortlist” of course prefers the Sunday New York Times, cares passionately about the National Book Award, and, in place of de Botton, has a shelf full of remaindered Thomas Friedman hardbacks.
Really, though, I think that marketing public domain thinkers to les bien pensants is a brilliant idea. Thus Philippa Perry in How to Stay Sane, published by de Botton’s School of Life imprint: “When I go away on holiday to a new place I feel refreshed by having been stimulated by new sights, smells, environments and culture”: pure mashed potatoes. Stuff like this all but writes itself. I’m thinking of sitting down one night and knocking out a few proposals:
. The Brothers James: How a Harvard Philosopher and an Expat Novelist Can Make You More Thoughtful, Compassionate, and, Yes, Spiritual!
. Drinking the Day: Wining and Designing with Edith Wharton
. The Paleo-Feminine Mystique: A Year in the Garden with Sylvia Townsend Warner (Now there’s a candidate no one’s going to think of!).