BOOKCASE

In Praise of Slow: How Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed
By: Carl Honoré
Publisher: Orion Books
Price: $27.99

You could see Carl Honoré’s book as the antidote for the manic little chap in Telecom’s ad who moves, eats, sleeps and even blinks faster than anyone else. Perhaps he also gets lulled to sleep with the “one-minute bedtime story” – but the fact that Honoré even contemplated pausing in his rush through some airport to pick up what he describes as “Hans Christian Anderson meets the executive summary” became the epiphany that prompted his own exploration of the globally spreading “slow movement”.
From the Italian founder of “slow food” to Japan’s Sloth Club, the marvellously titled Europe’s Society for the Deceleration of Time and America’s Long Now Foundation which is building huge intricate clocks that tick once year and measure time over 10 millennia, it proves fascinating journey. And that’s not even counting the Tantric sex workshop in North London, “siesta salons” in Spain or the concert of John Cage composition scheduled to end in 2640 – sponsors willing.
The various slow movements (and New Zealand has its own self-declared “slow” communities such as Matakana) aren’t simply anti-speed – they’re after balance of slow and fast, whether in eating, learning, loving or working. For those weary of “turbo-capitalism” it’s matter of making space and finding the “tempo giusto” or “right time” for activities that can be so much more fulfilling when enjoyed at leisure – like bedtime stories or Christmas breaks. Health warning: this book could be life changing.

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