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Acquired Tastes

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,124 ratings  ·  68 reviews
The author ofA Year in Provencetakes readers on an around-the-world journey, showing them where to find the best of everything, including caviar, custom-made shoes, and more. ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Bantam (first published October 21st 1991)
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Oh, how I enjoyed this book. A collection of magazine articles written for GQ and Esquire, Acquired Tastes chronicles Mayle's exploration of the finer things in life, from bespoke shirts and hand-made shoes to truffles and champagne. Mayle, the lucky man, was able to expense these out in the name of research - would that we were all so lucky - and balances between sincere appreciation (hotels that refrain from covering a room with "self-congratulatory literature-those overwritten puffs . . . to ...more
Robert Vlach
Vynikající esej se pozná i tak, že nestárne ani po letech a má stejný říz jako v den, kdy jej autor stvořil. Peter Mayle je českým čtenářům znám hlavně díky bestselleru Rok v Provenci či filmu Dobrý ročník, který byl natočen podle jeho knižní předlohy. Mě ale nadchl ještě víc Maylův soubor esejů z roku 1992 o výstřelcích nejen pro bohaté. Acquired Tastes neboli „osvojené chuti“ vyšly i česky pod trefným názvem Pozemské radosti. Eseje jsou psány s nesmírnou lehkostí, humorem a důvěrnou znalostí p ...more
This is a collection of pieces Mayle did for Esquire. Its pure froth. The only reason I can imagine ever looking at this book again is as a reference to some specific resource. That said, it was fun. And it got me thinking. Essentially Esquire let Mayle explore aspects of the good life on their expense account, a job Im sure he enjoyed. He took an extremely practical approach to certain luxuries: a company plane, handmade shoes, $1000 Panama hats, bespoke suits, limo service. I have to say I don ...more
Not quite the enchantment of ‘A Year in Provence’ because this is really just a collection of magazine articles written over several years about the finer thigs of life. There were some informative passages done with a good dose of wit and panache’. The ones devoted to menswear were favorites because I spent so many years in that area, and especially the essay ‘Which Side Do You Dress?’ which has a great bit on being measured for a perfectly-tailored suit. And I learned much from ‘A Mouthful of ...more
I like Peter Mayle's writing style, the British sense of humor always puts a smile on my face. That is, I would recommend reading this book for its writing alone, the witty oxymoron and other juxtapositions. It's a quaint little book, don't expect finding anything that will blow your socks off.

I believe people are already indoctrinated enough by mainstream media to be familiar with the factual content in there: the luxurious lifestyle and how fabulous it is. It is quite outdated standard if you
Mayle set out to sample the excesses of the wealthy. The problem with having serious money is that one can never be satisfied. Nothing is ever just right. "Expectations tend to increase in direct proportion to the amount of money being spent, and if you're spending a fortune you expect perfection." Consider cutlery that is so expensive the hostess is required by her insurance broker to count it after each meal and lock it in the safe. Or the slightly under-boiled breakfast egg; or the chauffeur ...more
Peter Mayle, author of A Year in Province, explores some of the world's most expensive indulgences -- private jets, mistresses, living in a hotel, owning a second home, truffles, having shirts and shoes made for you. Written in 1986, and revised in 1992, it is quite dated, which adds to the humor.

It was quite a trip back in time -- especially reading about the luxury of being able to make phone calls from your car (limo).
This book will not change your life. That's OK -- It doesn't need to. The writing is entertaining and fun, and very well done. Mayle gives insight into the ways of the affluent from the point of view of a man of ordinary means. I have never been wealthy, nor do I ever expect to become wealthy, but, just in case, I am so prepared.

Although Robin Sachs could make reading the phone book sound interesting and Peter Mayle's dry sense of humor is always amusing, these essays originally printed in Esquire and published in compilation in 1992 is suprisingly out of date. Mayle pokes fun at the excesses of life but after what's been happening in the couple of decades, those things just don't seem as funny. There were certain chapters that were definitely amusing and the food chapters made me wish I had more money. Having been writ ...more
Amusing and a great read. The author’s style is quite entertaining making it fun to read about all the high-end hobbies. Each chapter is succinct dealing with one experience at a time. A pleasant reading even if one doesn't have the resources to acquire these tastes.
Short and entertaining articles that Mayle previously published in magazines, "Acquired Tastes" goes down easy. It's slightly dated these days - I'd love to see an update - but I learned something in each chapter. Quite enjoyable.
Interesting enough, but I don't feel I can put it on the same level as my other 3 star books. I liked it and it was fun but nothing to write home about.
Richard Novak
What the rich do with their money. I like his idea of always using the same hotel rather than a second home. One day I may have this problem.
Readable but not one of Mayle's best. The subject matter is somewhat dated and certainly chauvinistic.
Jacquelin Siegel
Mildly amusing but glad I paid close to nothing for this book at the library book sale. I picked it up for my sister, maybe she'll like it more than me.
Susan Reed
some very good, some fair, interesting
An entertaining read; although some of it (prices, etc.) are outdated, the stories of truffles, bespoke shoes, vacation homes, and luxury hotels are still worth the read.
A series of puff pieces evaluating the benefits of various habits of the filthy rich. Entertaining and an interesting look into whether the particulars deliver value relative to the cost. I can say from personal experiences that bespoke suits are worth the money; after reading Mr. Mayle's essay on custom made shoes, I want to buy a pair or three myself. Other categories, like the private jet or second home, are pure vicarious pleasure. Good in small doses for entertaining bagatelles.
Jerome Baladad
i just like Mayle's writing style!!! easy reading; i read it in less than a week's time mostly in the subway....this is a very good resource material for someone who'd like to be so rich, so wealthy to get to afford all the best things in life that money can buy!!! i'm certainly one of them!!!! as someone said, the best revenge is to be able to live life in a wealthy way (or something to this effect!) while your enemies cast envious glances at you!!!
Funny and ironic.
Mar 22, 2007 John added it
Shelves: guilty_pleasures
Someday, I want to be able to afford bespoke shirts, hand-crafted shoes, and to practice the proper way to eat Beluga caviar (with a plastic spoon, if you're interested.)

Guilt then reminds me that if I ever have that much money, I should be doing something socially productive with it, not spending it selfishly. Then Mayle starts talking about cigars, and once again I abandon myself to temptation....
fun, fast read. Though, it felt a bit dated in 2008. It was very interesting reading about the secret lives of the wealthy but I couldn't help but wonder about how the new rich handle it. I couldn't imagine Britany, or Paris or even Brangelina doing some of the things in this book.

I think if he did this now he'd have to add chapters on publicists, paparazzi, adopted babies, etc.
I enjoyed this book tremendously. It gave me a glimpse of how the rich and famous live. It made me wish that I had a rich friend so I can experience some of the things they talk about in the book. I really enjoyed the details that the author describe when he talks about handmade clothing, gourmet food and other things rich people enjoy. I highly recommend this book.
I picked this up at a resale shop because I love all his other books. It was actually pretty interesting, but about last on my list of his books. It's a collection of columns he wrote for mens magazines, examining how the other half lives. He was fitted for bespoke suits and shoes. He eats the best caviar, stays in the best hotel in the world, drinks the best wine, etc.
Jamie Christensen
I always love reading Peter Mayle. This was just a light easy read, and since it was written in 1986 it's been fun to see what was considered extravagant back then and what the prices were. Some things that he discusses in the book are timeless like truffles, other things have already become extinct. An entertaining and quick read.
Anjie Brown
The reviews for this book said that it was witty and funny. I found it to be neither. I actually intended to read another of his books, but it wasn't available at my local library, so I chose this one instead. A mistake, to be sure. And now, I won't bother to try to get a hold of a copy of the book I actually intended to read.
Hard to dislike this book if you are already a fan of Peter Mayle's. It's his usual witty, entertaining voice, and I devoured this book in almost one sitting. Particularly loved the chapters about the second home and private jet. Obviously it's dated, having been written in 1992, but still immensely enjoyable!
Carolyn Somerville
I don't usually like short stories but I've read everything of Peter Mayle's so I read this too.
I read this book a few years ago on my first Peter Mayle reading spree. I liked it well enough that I gave it to my brother as a Christmas present. And when I saw it this afternoon at the Strand, I thought "I want to read this again!" A more thorough review to follow.
I would recommend Peter Mayle's other books (A Year in Provence, Toujours Provence and Adventures with Knife, Fork and Corkscrew) over this one. Not nearly enough food writing in this one for me! And a little too much about luxurious living. Still good writing and funny though.
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Peter Mayle (born June 14, 1939 in Brighton) is a British author famous for his series of books detailing life in Provence, France. He spent fifteen years in advertising before leaving the business in 1975 to write educational books, including a series on sex education for children and young people. In 1989, A Year in Provence was published and became an international bestseller. His books have be ...more
More about Peter Mayle...
A Year in Provence Toujours Provence Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew A Good Year

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“Next to the defeated politician, the writer is the most vocal and inventive griper on earth. He sees hardship and unfairness wherever he looks. His agent doesn’t love him (enough). The blank sheet of paper is an enemy. The publisher is a cheapskate. The critic is a philistine. The public doesn’t understand him. His wife doesn’t understand him. The bartender doesn’t understand him.

These are only some of the common complaints of working writers, but I have yet to hear any of them bring up the most fundamental gripe of all: the lifelong, horrifying expense involved in getting out the words.

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