Endangered Pleasures: In Defense of Naps, Bacon, Martinis, Profanity, and Other Indulgences

ISBN: 006095647X
ISBN 13: 9780060956479
By: Barbara Holland

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About this book

Here is a refreshing look at life as it ought to be. Bare feet, gardening, dawdling over the newspaper, oversleeping, and idle summer vacations are infinitely more satisfying than counting fat grams, eating only vegetables, and sitting behind that desk every day. So toss out the guilt and rebel. Don't just stop and smell the flowers--call in sick and lie among them, preferably with a good friend, a bottle of wine, and a handful of chocolates. Endangered Pleasures is a delightful reminder that rest and relaxation are more rewarding than a job performance review. After all, life's too short. Why not have some fun while you're supposed to be living it?

Reader's Thoughts

Vicki Hughes

This is a book I take off the shelf several times a year, for a nice leisurely thumbing. It's full of essays on the merits of going naked, the taking naps, and pretty mush all the stuff I love to do. I love the case she makes for the necessity of the occasional swear word. Barbara Holland and I could be friends, and you will probably think she'd make a great friend too, after reading this delightful book.


The most interesting thing about this book is that is shows how nostalgia really works. Namely, it's thinking things were better 'before' no matter when that was. This book is from the 1990s, which the author viewed as unbearably busy and work-oriented. Ironically I look back on the 90s as a time of carefree glee, when people used to write essays about simple pleasures. Still, Holland makes some excellent points about enjoying the little things in life, even if her sections on travel were written before the founding of TSA. And I'm sure when my son is grown I'll tell him all about how I used this quaint thing called the internet to write reviews of books that were printed on actual paper.


4.5 stars. I adore this book, and it is totally the book I would write, if I could, you know, write books. I've always recognized in myself a deep hedonistic streak, not so much in the "snorting coke off strippers at an orgy" image that that that word conjures up, but as far as seeking and appreciating pleasure from small everyday things--a fresh peach, an afternoon spent laying on a hammock reading, the smell of fresh cut grass--sensual experiences, in the non-sexual meaning of that word--and seeing some intrinstic good in that pleasure. So yeah, philosophically, this book is right up my alley. And the writing is gorgeously sensual (there's that word again...I can't seem to write this review without making it sound all Cinemax After Dark). I didn't agree with all the supposed pleasures; I'm too much of a homebody at heart to get much pleasure from being someone's houseguest or being out in a crowd, and I see nothing appealing in gambling. And there is certainly a strain of a certain kind of political conservativism running throughout that was at times difficult to square with my personal politics. Here on goodreads, the first book listed as one that others who like this one have also liked is called Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children. Yeah, I won't likely be reading THAT one, but this one is a beautifully written treatise for those who share the philosophy that joy is good for you.


LOVED this book. Perfect for a little laugh during the day.


One of my favorites! This book just makes me feel good.

Lisa Lewis

I loved the idea of this book, which is a collection of short essays on things that bring fun and joy into life, but are in some cases underrated or even demonized. Unfortunately, it got a little boring... And, being published in 1995, it was a teensy bit dated in terms of the popular culture context she was describing. I laughed a few times, and I still like the message: have more fun in life. But I don't necessarily recommend it.


Yes! Thank you! Delightful writing on delightful topics that I intend to explore in more depth with each pasing week. This is my favorite post-divorce gift...but don't feel like you need to go to all that trouble if you just want to read it for fun.


I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book, but it didn't really deliver. The writing was conversational and at times charming, but I found it to be less an ode to joy than a rather sexist and at times colonialist lament on the passing of the good old days. Maybe it's just too dated for me.

Connie Harkness

I thought it would be funny. Instead, it endangered m pleasure by being dry and rote.

Dick Freed

A fantastic apologia of the Epicurean lifestyle. I would have enjoyed it even more if I weren't reading it over the holidays, when I too was enjoying too much sleeping, too much eating, too much drinking.


Short essays on the good of the occasional "vice".


Amusing with deep stabs of truth. Several of these little essays are good and true enough that I want to carry them around and make people read them, watching their faces as I do...


I laughed out loud reading some of these short chapters. A fun book to have on the counter to pick up and read 5-10 minutes at a time.

Joyce McCombs

Such a fun read - short essays on things we deny ourselves these days, like a good nap, bacon, bare feet, the morning paper and the second cup of coffee. An indulgence just to read!


Most of these essays are a little hit-or-miss, as if she wrote about smoking and drinking and setting things on fire, then decided to write enough essays along the same lines to fill a book. However, the essay on smoking is one of the best things I've ever read. If you're a smoker, or you used to be, you really should read it, and then discover on your own how good the others are.

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