Reading has become an old fashioned habit

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The beautiful habit of living 'is a book about Italy, about a German's travels to Italy. Martin Mosebach writes about the cities of Rome and Venice, about life in the country near Naples, then about the mask theater of the Commedia dell'arte. Mosebach's stylistic precision, his feeling for the curious in everyday life and his power of representation, which draws from the full, give this book its idiosyncratic charm.

Review note on Die Zeit, July 29, 2010

Helmut Böttiger felt himself instructed in a gently old-fashioned way while reading this book, in which Martin Mosebach, according to his information, undertakes a foray through the cultural history of the West based on Italy. However, the critic acknowledges the educated teachings of this author with amused, sometimes astonished benevolence. With forbidden, because reactionary feelings of happiness, he and Mosebach sometimes jump back beyond the limits of the Enlightenment, and find an imaginary center of Mosebach's lust for life in the Roman Catholic hustle and bustle of the Middle Ages and early modern times. Again and again he finds old and new artfully intertwined in the description. The critic even identifies a technique of valuable addition in small descriptions of apparently everyday things, in which Mosebach then accumulates education and knowledge layer by layer and ticks particularly important things with extra ticks, as the critic adds reprovingly.