"FEBRUARY 14 The last crate contains books. If asked why I've come to shut myself up here, I'll say I was behind in my reading. I nail a pine plank up over my bedstead to hold my books. I've got at least seventy. Back in Paris I took pains to put together an ideal list. When you have misgivings about the poverty of your inner life, it's important to bring along good books to fill that void in a pinch." -- The Consolations of the Forest by Sylvain Tesson Back in the mid 2000s, Tesson decided to leave his home in Paris and live for six months on the shore of Lake Baikal in the Siberian wilderness. This is his memoir of that time. Tesson is very bookish and, in addition to the above quote, lists every book he brings out. Appropriately, he brings Walden. Hilariously, he admits that he's not a huge fan of it. This book is very slow paced and reflective. Tesson keeps his cabin, reads, drinks vodka, explores, and occasionally goes to see his neighbors or gets visitors himself. Note: his nearest neighbor is nine miles away. He doesn't have a car because there are no roads where his cabin is. So usually, if he goes, he walks. I have a bit of mixed feelings on this. I was interested to read about what his life during that time was like, but I do wish that he'd spent a little more time on the scientific wonders of Lake Baikal. It's the deepest freshwater lake in the world, and is absolutely weird and amazing. Also, the writing is beautiful and the location, again, is fascinating, but Tesson can sometimes get a bit too nihilistic for my tastes. There are some minor trigger warnings for this book. Check out Storygraph for a list. https://app.thestorygraph.com/books/4d24f333-0bc4-47e4-93ba-d85036b9987c

Posted by thewintersings at 2023-06-10 01:19:11 UTC