FULLY BOOKED: A VERY RELAXING READING LIST FOR 2024
“Sorry, I can’t right now, I’m overbooked!”
What if, instead of working night and day or obsessing over scheduling, you reclaimed the French art of doing precisely nothing? Vilebrequin has plenty of literature for you on the subject.
ENNUI, MON AMI
“Busy men find life very short.” —Seneca
From the French Renaissance through to the Age of Enlightenment and the Romantics, France’s greatest poets, writers, and philosophers all agree on one thing: wisdom is knowing how to be idle. Indeed, the French attitude to everything from being seductive to chic is not trying too hard. Vilebrequin’s new Beach At Home loungewear collection honors the Gallic tradition of ennui. So put down your paperwork, pick up a paperback, and slip into vacation mode.
VICTOR HUGO, TOILERS OF THE SEA
What do you do when you’re exiled to an island for 15 years?
Victor Hugo had time to think about his answer. Written during his extended stay in Guernsey, Toilers of the Sea is a master class in finding beauty and drama in the mundane.
“Doing nothing is the definition of a noble life” writes Hugo. His hero in the novel must have been very noble (and very bored), as he ends up in a fight with an octopus!
MARCEL PROUST, IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME
You have to be brave, and extremely patient, to take on Marcel Proust’s 7-volume marathon In Search of Lost Time. With 1000-word paragraphs and almost 10,000,000 characters in total, it still holds the Guinness World Record for the longest novel ever written. Notoriously hard to summarize, La Recherche became the subject of an iconic Monty Python skit.
But Proust’s work is a subversive―and deeply modern―reflection on life as the sum of our everyday situations. Inside, you’ll find a complete guide to better loving, better vacationing, and better relationships.A true art of living can’t be short or simple, can it?
In Proust’s world, losing and re-finding time is a luxury.
OLGA MECKING, NIKSEN: THE DUTCH ART OF DOING NOTHING
One of the buzziest words of 2023 was “Niksen”, the Dutch lifestyle concept of doing nothing. You may know it better as far niente. Considered a relaxation technique, Niksen is about letting go and surrendering the moment―doing nothing, but consciously.
It may explain why the Netherlands is consistently one of the happiest countries in the world.
OLLIVIER POURRIOL, THE FRENCH ART OF TAKING IT EASY
More nuanced, and more resolutely Frenchy, philosopher Ollivier Pourriol’s essay is a glittering apology for smarter living à la française: “sans effort, and with elegance.” Learn from the best: Coco Chanel, Françoise Sagan, Zidane! The best (and most annoying!!) line in the book: “The French barely seem to be trying, yet their results are world-famous.”
RICHARD BANGS, THE ART OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY
What if, just by dreaming at home in your loungewear, you were living dangerously? That’s the power of a good book. After 50 years spent living on the edge, Sobek Expeditions founder Richard Bangs takes us back over his immense career as an adventure traveler. Trekking, climbing, sailing, diving, kayaking, back-country skiing, mountaineering, biking… Every page is more extreme and thrilling than the last. Hear from the man who led the first-ever organized trips to North Korea, Libya, Pakistan, Iran, and who has already pioneered virtual expeditions.
A breathtaking read.
SHAHNAZ HABIB, AIRPLANE MODE: AN IRREVERENT HISTORY OF TRAVEL
A powerful exposé of the dynamics that dictate travel and tourism, Airplane Mode is written from the perspective of a Third World-raised woman of color. It’s a deeply personal and thoughtful reflection on who gets to travel, and who gets to write about it. In a post-pandemic world of capitalism, conflict, and climate change, this book seeks to find the joy in travel.
THE GREAT ESCAPE
“One day, I watched the sun setting forty-four times.” ―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Vilebrequin has always lived by the same philosophy: With enough imagination, you can make any situation a vacation.