Skip to content

Author of How to Live: A Life Of Montaigne and other books about writers, adventurers and philosophers

Kako živeti? Življenje Michela de Montaigna z enim vprašanjem in dvajsetimi poskusi odgovora

December 22, 2013


Kako ziveti SlovenianMore great news - the Slovenian edition of How to Live is now available. It was published in November 2013 by Janez Penca.

For Slovenophones, here’s a link to a bookstore, and here’s a link to a long piece about it in Delo. Happy reading! Or, if Google Translate is to be believed, srečna branje!

(Other available translations are listed with links on the How to Live page.)


Nasıl Yaşanır ya da Bir Soruda Montaigne’in Hayatı

December 10, 2013


Turkish 2

The Turkish edition of How to Live: a life of Montaigne is now out!

Click on the image or here to follow a link to a Turkish online bookstore where you can, if a turcophone, read more about it.

(Other available translations are listed with links on the How to Live page.)



Reading the world – visiting Montaigne’s Tower

November 6, 2013



Thank you very much to Greg Lennes for alerting me to this beautiful photographic blog by Peter Webscott about a visit to Montaigne’s tower. And of course thank you even more to the author/photographer - it’s a really wonderful post, which I wanted to share here.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT MY OWN POST!  Follow the link above to view Peter’s Wordscene site properly – believe me, it’s worth the effort.

Originally posted on wordscene:

Montaigne's Tower

How to live? We all have to find our own answer to that question, but part of the enjoyment of the journey is looking at how others deal with it.

The sixteenth century French writer Michel de Montaigne is an interesting case. Withdrawing from public life to his estate near Bordeaux at the age of 38 he decided to dedicate to his life to trying to answer that question through a series of self-soundings which he published as the Essais. A lot of the early essais are quite dry and often repeat what his favourite classical writers had to say. Frequently that was contradictory. But when he starts to explore his own reactions to the world, gaining in self-confidence as he begins to trust his own views over those of the ancients, he becomes much more interesting

He lived in very turbulent times in France during the Wars of Religion, when…

View original 1,753 more words

In the Land of the Thinsies

October 18, 2013


A couple of years ago, I wrote a post for Three Guys One Book about a few favourite books in my life, one of which was Dorothy Ann Lovell’s In the Land of the Thinsies .

Thinsies from Chris Mullen Visual Storytelling 03A forgotten children’s book with illustrations by Nicolas Bentley, it tells of a girl who neglects to get off at the end of a London Underground escalator, rolls through the crack, and is squeezed flat and shot out into a subterranean world where everything and everyone is as thin as a sheet of pastry.

The copy I read (aged about 8) belonged to my mother, who says she has been nervous of escalators ever since. The impact on me was different. It was the first time I remember having that real science-fiction “sense of wonder”, the tingling effect of encountering a world that is almost familiar, and has a scientific rationale of sorts, yet is utterly bizarre, remote, and dreamlike. It left me with a lifelong fascination for underground worlds, flatlands, hollow earths and the like.

When I wrote about it for Three Guys, I wasn’t able to find any illustrations online, nor a second-hand copy. I could only look at the copy in the British Library, and I found it a bit disappointing, as often happens with remembered marvels.

But I have now just found some images on a brilliant site devoted to illustrated storytelling: Chris Mullen’s The Visual Telling of Stories. Beware: if you go there, you will probably lose yourself for hours.

He gives us a number of double-page spreads from In the Land of the Thinsies, with illustrations and sections of narrative. I hope no one will mind if I post one here. (If anyone does, tell me and I will pull it back through the cracks). Do go to the site to look at more if you are intrigued.

Funny: this time, looking at the images, it does seem marvellous again. How does that work?

The Library: A World History

October 12, 2013


TheLibraryAnd here’s my FInancial Times review of this gorgeous book.  They have an excellent gallery of Will Pryce’s photographs on the site.  Read it and slaver.

Welcome to my new website

October 12, 2013


My old website was getting eccentric in its ways, so here is a new one.  After tinkering with it for a few weeks, I am now about ready to give it it an encouraging pat on its nappy-clad backside and sending it toddling off into the world.  Don’t fall over, little website!

It will also be my new blog.  But for continuity’s sake, here is a link to my previous one, Sarah Blogwell’s Bake.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.