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Acquired Tastes

Acquired Tastes

4.0 3
by Peter Mayle

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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.


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
On assignment for GQ (where these tonic pieces first appeared), Mayle sallied forth to sample the little luxuries of the richest, the best that life is reputed to offer. With unabashed gusto he praises good cigars, grand hotels, Parisian bistros, second homes, antiques and fresh truffles. With swank savvy he reviews the advantages and drawbacks of servants, the pleasures and costs of mistresses. His excursions comprise an informal buyer's guide to single-malt whiskies, pure Mongolian cashmere, deluxe shirts and hand-made London shoes. For ballast, Mayle ( A Year in Provence ) presents curmudgeonly diatribes on lawyers, tipping, New Year's resolutions, writers' gripes, Christmas (``the universal expensive habit'') and Manhattan's giddy spending opportunities. This delightful celebration of the little (and not-so-little) extravagances that make life worth living scintillates with wit, brio and trenchant observations on the best and the second-rate. (May)
Library Journal
Having dissected the pleasures of life in the south of France in his popular A Year in Provence ( LJ 4/1/90) and Toujours Provences ( LJ 5/1/91), Mayle turns his witty and keen eye on the lifestyles and spending habits of the very, very, very rich. In this collection of pieces from GQ magazine, he describes the ritual of ordering a pair of $1300 hand-made shoes. ``Everything is measured: altitude of instep, curve of heel, contours and slope of the metatarsal range. You might even be asked if you normally wear your toenails that length, because millimeters count.'' Mayle advises the reader on selecting the right stretch limousine. ``White is vulgar, gray is a compromise banker's color, puce and magenta and antique crackle-finish gold are not for gentlemen.'' He explains to the neophyte the proper way to eat true caviar (forget the sour cream, anchovies, chopped onions and capers, and hard-boiled eggs). While there is no great depth here, Mayle's amusing observations provide die-hard fans of Dynasty and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous with a few hours of pure hedonistic escapism.-- Wilda Williams, ``Library Journal''
Kirkus Reviews
Consumer catalogue of the world's finest luxuries, entries first published in GQ and Esquire, by Mayle (Toujours Provence, 1991, etc.). Mayle decided to write a monthly column for GQ on luxuries and the most refined ways to spend money, with GQ's financial support of his investigations—rough work, alas. He delivers in a velvety style, telling: how to buy and eat caviar (skip chopped onion and crumbled egg yolk, don't spread it on toast like peanut butter—just get in bed with a plastic spoon and lift the black pearls to your mouth, then burst them on your palate); how to distinguish a true cigar or a great single-malt scotch; how to hire a black stretch-limo; how to maximize the joys of a supremely exclusive hotel; where to buy a shirt or $1300 hand-stitched custom-made shoes; where to have a suit made, and so on. He is especially keen about the foie gras of Provence (best in the world). He takes us on a money trip through the upkeep of a mistress and all the "daily jolts of intrigue and adrenaline [that] are meat and drink to the mistress addict"—and talks over the odd gift to the wife to soothe one's remorse. Then there's the indulgence of hiring lawyers ("In practice, it consists of handing over large sums of money to the kind of people you wouldn't want to meet in your neighborhood bar"). And how about hiring a private jet to get you from Avignon to Paris? "The cost would be substantial—around 48,000 French francs, or $9,000, for fuel and landing fees." Or a genuine $l,000 folding hat—a Panama worth its weight in dollar bills? Hmm...well, we deserve it. Much, much fun—and best read with a magnum of Dom Perignon and a four-pound tin of Belugacaviar.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

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Acquired Tastes 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book on vacation in Florida. Perfect, perfect beach read. The accounts of the best of everything are wonderful, evocative, and fascinating. I've read this book many times because it is so good. Definitely on my Top 10 list. And I have 5,000 books in my personal library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mayle should be prohibited from ever again using the word bespoke. Most of his books are very interesting and amusing. The editor of this one slept on the job.