I've had a weird relationship with Sarah Bakewell's How To Live for like two years now. I have Montaigne's Essays on my bedside table, and have been fascinated with his style and contribution to literature for also about two years. I kept second guessing the purchase of this book despite the great reviews and recommendations because... well, I could just read his work and assess it myself. I don't need to spend $17 for someone to synthesize his writing and tell me how highly relatable he is, I can find out myself for free, right?! Wrong.
I bit the bullet yesterday and got it after months of reluctance, and I'm so glad I did. The way she weaves his personal history elucidates the work and sparks the ability for the reader to make even more connections in this endless hall of mirrors that is seeing ourselves within other people. I'm only in the first chapter, but twenty something pages in, it's already got me thinking seriously about the role of death, and by extension loss, and its connection with rebirth and a personal renaissance. More on that later... For now, I just wanted to say I'm hooked.