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Acquired Tastes

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,373 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
The author of A Year in Provence takes readers on an around-the-world journey, showing them where to find the best of everything, including caviar, custom-made shoes, and more.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Bantam (first published October 21st 1991)
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Pat Herndon
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Peter Mayle at his irreverent, highly humorous best. This book was published in 1992, so I feared it would be dated. To the contrary, since the finer things in life remain the same across the years, much of the book was as relevant today as ever. We learn about the joys of finely tailored clothing, handmade hats and shoes and about single-malt Scotch. Of course, cigars also make the list. Mayle educates us while keeping us snickering at his wry observations on the world of the finer things.
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Witty, concise and loaded with arcane and fun information! Many truths in the section about houseguests! (If you live in a tourist destination, be prepared!)
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a collection of pieces Mayle did for Esquire. It���s 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 I���m 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 ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Příjemné čtení.
Robert Vlach
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pleasure-reading
Not nearly as charming or engaging as his books about Provence. Essentially a collection of very short columns he wrote (for GQ or for Esquire, I can't recall) in which they dispatched him around the world to report on extravagantly expensive habits or acquisitions (e.g., a place in London that makes custom shoes, a tailor that makes custom shirts, a lesson on how to enjoy single-malt Scotch).
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elegance is the key

This is the first time I read Peter Mayle's book and I must say that I am floored by his writing style. Acquired Tastes speaks of luxury and decadence that also can cost a lot. Mayle's research into each of these is thorough which makes this book a fascinating read.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Cute vignettes but not nearly as much fun as his previous books about life in France
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
lepší než nějaká motivační knížka
Colleen Lahey
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you are having a bad day and need a good laugh, Peter Mayle is the guy to read. His 'Acquired Tastes' is truly funny. I enjoy how he describes something and at the last sentence hits you with the zinger. My favorite book of his is "A Dog's Life" so I measure all of his books against it. A Dog's Life was truly inspired and leaves you laughing hysterically. This one is funny too but a little more reserved. A good book for when you need a lift.
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays-and-misc
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
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: travelogue
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
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
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Audible; Robin Sachs, narrator) I got this with an Audible BOGO purely for the pleasure of listening to Robin Sachs, but the essays on expensive tastes are well worth a listen: bespoke shoes, the black stretch limousine (without tinted windows), the mistress, refreshment for the perfect Christmas Eve meal, lawyers, the bespoke suit, French truffles, antiquing, servants, Scrooge and Christmas giving, Mongolian Cashmere goats, caviar, the second home, Cuban cigars, house guests, the bespoke shirt ...more
Mar 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a mostly enjoyable book. I listened to the audiobook and it was a pleasant vicarious trip through some of the fun things that Peter Mayle does - buying besoke shoes, eating caviar and flying in private jets.

Most of the essays were very nice. They had a light-hearted quality of a friend telling you about an amazing vacation.

Towards the end there were a few uninteresting essays. I was particularly bored by his treatise against tipping. Don't spend a thousand dollars on foie gras and beg
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
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
Mar 22, 2007 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....
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
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).
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Some of the chapters were interesting. I enjoyed reading about the custom made shirts and shoes. But when I read him write about choosing between buying an apartment in London, then deciding it was cheaper to just pay 9 thousand a week to rent a hotel room he lost me. He started the book by telling how he could only afford to do these things because his publisher would pay the bills, then talks about paying 9000 a week at a hotel. Umm, yeah. Honey, you are very far from being a poor writer.
Jerome Baladad
Apr 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
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!!!
Yakking Yogini
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you enjoy dry humor, this is the book for you! This is the same author as the best-selling "A Year in Provence," which details his experiences living in the French countryside. My father turned me on to Peter Mayle and so I enjoy his wit and sophisticated vocabulary which he is able to execute with a lot of humor. This book is simply a series of essays that describes luxury items that can enjoyed.
Jul 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 02, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Jamie Christensen
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it liked it
A fun book to finish reading after my return from Provence, France. Although it was written over 20 years ago, Peter Mayle touched on items that still are "acquired tastes", such as caviar and cigars. I like his style of writing - light, enjoyable and easy to read. Makes me want to book a return trip to Provence as soon as I can manage it!
Anjie Brown
Sep 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Aug 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Talk about a plum assignment for a journalist. Imagine talking GQ and a few other magazines into footing the bill for you to live like the insanely wealthy and then write about it! He gets handmade shoes, suits, and nights at the world's best hotels ect. Very interesting essays to read. Easy to read one chapter before bed kind of book.
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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
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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.

This may come as a surprise to many of you who assume that a writer’s equipment is limited to paper and pencils and a bottle of whiskey, and maybe one tweed sports coat for interviews. It goes far beyond that.

The problem from which all other problems spring is that writing takes up the time that could otherwise be spent earning a living. The most humble toiler on Wall Street makes more in a month than ninety percent of writers make in a year. A beggar on the street, seeing a writer shuffling toward him, will dig deep into his rags to see if he can spare a dime. . . .”
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