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

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.

Rebecca Johnson

The book had an interesting concept; but lacked seriously in the delivery. It was a boring read.


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.


Collection of amusing nostalgic essays by a woman who can find happiness in sleeping in, bare feet, unemployment, saving money, spending money and so on. Put a smile on my face.


This is a book of very interesting, but very short essays about different things that the American puritan society has dismissed as sinful. The topics range from simple breakfast coffee to going barefoot. Some of the things that she says are deemed unnecessary aren't in my life, but I guess it depends on your upbringing. An all right 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.

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.

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.


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


Oh man, what a fun little book! I am a confirmed fan of the four vices mentioned in the title, and read it while indulging in another - a long, hot bath accompanied by a glass of wine. OK, I don't know if the former is considered a vice, but the latter probably is. I may have to give this a reread soon.


I'd been looking forward to this one for a while, but it was a let down. I thought Holland's tone was dull and even a bit condescending (though that may have been a point, I think the book had much more potential). Likewise, Holland suffers from Oldenburg disease: longing for something long gone and romanticizing the woman-in-the-kitchen trope.


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


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.

Mike Lester

Fuck Dianetics. This is the book that will help me reach my true potential. 4 stars.


Read for book club - a little dated and a little silly.

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