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Download How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Sarah Bakewell
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,274 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sarah Bakewell Narrator: Davina Porter Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2011 ISBN:
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This question obsessed Renaissance writers, none more than Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, perhaps the first recognizably modern individual. A nobleman, public official, and winegrower, he wrote free-roaming explorations of his thought and experience, unlike anything written before. He called them essays, meaning attempts or tries. He put whatever was in his head into them: his tastes in wine and food, his childhood memories, the way his dog's ears twitched when it was dreaming, as well as the appalling events of the religious civil wars raging around him. The Essays was an instant best seller and, over four hundred years later, Montaigne's honesty and charm still draw readers to him. They come in search of companionship, wisdom, and entertainment - and in search of themselves.This book, a spirited and singular biography, relates the story of Montaigne's life by way of the questions he posed and the answers he explored. It traces his bizarre upbringing, his youthful career and sexual adventures, his travels, and his friendships with the scholar and poet Étienne de La Boétie and with his adopted daughter, Marie de Gournay. And we also meet his readers - who for centuries have found in Montaigne an inexhaustible source of answers to the haunting question, How to live?

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna Maria Ballester Bohn | 2/15/2014

    " Extremely well written, very entertaining, thought provoking. An excellent book that also has a few lough-out-loud moments hidden between it's pages, like the part about the "cannibal chic" or saying that Lawrence Sterne's "Tristram Shandy" is like "Montaigne on speed". Genius, that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 2/5/2014

    " A great diversion at lunch! I read about a chapter on my break, and felt refreshed for the second half of the day. I think Montaigne and I would have enjoyed good conversations. You will, too. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adam Bricker | 1/15/2014

    " I won this book a few months back and have been working my way through since then. Not to say it isn't interesting, I just kept finding other books that I wanted to read more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeb | 1/13/2014

    " Loved it. Great introduction to Montaigne. And I'll make sure to read all of Sarah Bakewell's books from now on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tobi | 1/4/2014

    " Very, very interesting book. Now I have to read Montaigne's Essays so this book will make more sense. I think I will relate to him well. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristin | 9/23/2013

    " Some interesting philosophy from a guy who lived a long time ago, but it was mostly a interpretation of his "Essays" which I guess is hugely influential... would have appreciated some general context or history before getting into the specific details of Montaigne's life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 8/12/2013

    " Loved this book. Bakewell did a brilliant job of bringing Montaigne to the 21st Century. Examinations of life, ideas and relevance melded into a compelling retelling of a life's work. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bryan | 8/11/2012

    " This was alright but really just read Montaigne's Essays. This is really just an advert for them anyway. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debby | 7/28/2012

    " Really enjoyed this book, it was entertaining and inspiring. Now I have to read what Montaigne wrote. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sophie | 6/6/2012

    " What an excellent book. At once a biography, a discussion of his works and an examination of how the Essays have been received over the centuries, this is never anything less than entertaining while it informs. Very lighthearted in tone. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and am sorry I'm finished. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Raymond Rose | 2/7/2012

    " A perfect dip into Montaigne's Essays. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hdmsisk | 6/29/2011

    " Not as entertaining a read as Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton but as enlightening. Some day I might tackle Montaigne's original Essays. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott | 6/13/2011

    " Great book. I've never been able to read Montaigne, but this sort of biography, sort of explication of the Essays was so good, I think I will now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 6/6/2011

    " Couldn't make myself finish this book -- it is not summer reading! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brs36 | 6/3/2011

    " I could go on and on about this book, but I won't. It was a wonderful exploration of Montaigne and his Essays. Brilliant connections. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeb | 5/19/2011

    " Loved it. Great introduction to Montaigne. And I'll make sure to read all of Sarah Bakewell's books from now on. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Audra | 5/11/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book. Bakewell does an excellent job putting Montaigne's essays in context with history and what we know about his personal life. It was fascinating and makes me want to spend a lot more time with Montaigne's writings "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annette | 5/2/2011

    " Not bad, but this book doesn't really find a good medium between straight biography and literary critic. Very interesting idea. "

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About the Author

Sarah Bakewell was a curator of early printed books at the Wellcome Library before becoming a full-time writer, publishing her highly acclaimed biographies The Smart and The English Dane. She lives in London, where she teaches creative writing at City University and catalogs rare book collections for the National Trust.

About the Narrator

Davina Porter has been enthralling listeners for over twenty-five years with her ability to mine the psychological depths of the characters she reads and bring them convincingly to life. In 2006, she won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Female Narration and in 2004 for Best Inspirational Literature Narration.She has been honored as an AudioFile Golden Voice and has won nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards. As an actress, she has appeared on stage at the Vineyard Playhouse and The Square One Theater, among others.