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Carl Honoré's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Carl Honoré recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Carl Honoré's favorite book recommendations of all time.



After the gravity of "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" and "Immortality," "Slowness" comes as a surprise: It is certainly Kundera's lightest novel, a "divertimento," an "opera buffa", with, as the author himself says, "not a single serious word in it"; then, too, it is the first of his novels to have been written in French (in the eyes of the French public, turning him definitively into a "French writer").

Disconcerted and enchanted, the reader follows the narrator of "Slowness" through a midsummer's night in which two tales of seduction, separated by more than 200 years,...
Recommended by Carl Honoré, and 1 others.

Carl HonoréThis is more an impressionistic, stream-of-consciousness book. His writing is very mellifluous. I remember devouring it in a single sitting – it’s only 132 pages long – and I like the way Kundera tackles big ideas through very readable fiction. Slowness explores the romantic collisions and entanglements of several characters who seem at first unconnected. Some are in the modern world, others are... (Source)

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The Discovery of Slowness

"Absolutely stunning."—Times Literary Supplement

"This remarkable, superbly translated novel derives from the life of the real 19th century explorer John Franklin…[whose] adventures are conveyed with spellbinding skill."—Publishers Weekly

"[The Discovery of Slowness] is about a guy who is so incredibly slow in his perception that he . . . actually sees shadows moving. [T]he amazing thing that I remember from reading that book is, whenever I looked up from that book, I felt I had this view from the book in my real world. This book made my life more...
Recommended by Carl Honoré, and 1 others.

Carl HonoréThis is a great work of historical fiction about the 19th century British Arctic explorer John Franklin, who eventually went missing looking for the Northwest passage. In one sense, it is a classical historical novel which retells the story with verve and vim. But Sten Nadolny also imbues it with a discussion of slowness. Franklin was by nature slow, and because of that he was out of step with... (Source)

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Intolerance and bigotry lie at the heart of all human suffering. So claims Bertrand Russell at the outset of In Praise of Idleness, a collection of essays in which he espouses the virtues of cool reflection and free inquiry; a voice of calm in a world of maddening unreason. From a devastating critique of the ancestry of fascism to a vehement defense of 'useless' knowledge, with consideration given to everything from insect pests to the human soul, this is a tour de force that only Bertrand Russell could perform. less
Recommended by Carl Honoré, Ed Cooke, and 2 others.

Carl HonoréThis is wonderful, but feels dated to me. It was written in 1932 so it’s from a different era, when there was still the landed gentry. His basic thesis is that one of the ills of the modern world is the lie that has been sold to us that work is a virtuous and ennobling thing. His argument is that that’s a form of social control – keeping people down by keeping them working. There’s also the... (Source)

Ed CookeA great book. (Source)

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From the bestselling, National Book Award-nominated author of Genius and Chaos, a bracing new work about the accelerating pace of change in today's world.

Most of us suffer some degree of "hurry sickness," a malady that has launched us into the "epoch of the nanosecond," a need-everything-yesterday sphere dominated by cell phones, computers, faxes, and remote controls. Yet for all the hours, minutes, and even seconds being saved, we're still filling our days to the point that we have no time for such basic human activities as eating, sex, and relating to our families....
Recommended by Carl Honoré, and 1 others.

Carl HonoréThis was one of the first books that I read when I began thinking about these ideas of fast and slow, speed and deceleration. It’s a funny kind of book, descriptive and not prescriptive. There’s an undercurrent of disapproval of this acceleration, but it feels more like a scientific cataloguing of all the manifestations of our fast culture. How long people are prepared to wait on hold on a phone... (Source)

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Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad. That's a lengthy list of charges, but here Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.

Schlosser's myth-shattering survey stretches from California's subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many fast food's flavors are concocted. Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating,...

Richard BransonToday is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Carl HonoréThis book again pulled together a lot of things I was hearing about in a journalistic, methodical, rigorous fashion. I found it a very alarming read, but also a reassuring one. One of the charges leveled at those who sing the praises of slowness is that we can get tarred with the brush of new ageism or airy fairyness. I’m not at all from that school. I’m a journalist and rigorous, and I know that... (Source)

Barry EstabrookEric Schlosser takes apart a single fast-food meal and shows not only how it affects our health but also how the people who serve it to you are treated. He also looks at how the people in the slaughterhouses working with the cattle are treated, and so it shows you the true picture of the all-American meal – burgers and fries. (Source)

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