Adapted from the book, The Architecture of Happiness (2009, Vintage Books) by Alain de Botton, and the passage:
A bright morning in the Tate Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall. On a plinth sits a marble sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, first exhibited in 1936. Although it is unclear what exactly these three stones might mean or represent – a mystery reflected in their reticent title, Two Segments and a Sphere – they nevertheless manage to arrest and reward our gaze. Their interest centres on the opposition between the ball and the semicircular wedge on which it rests. The ball looks unstable and energetic; we sense how keenly it wants to roll down the segment’s leading edge and bowl across the room. By contrast with this impulsiveness, the accompanying wedge conveys maturity and stability: it seems content to nurse gently from side to side, taming the recklessness of its charge. In viewing the piece, we are witness to a tender and playful relationship, rendered majestic through the primordial medium of polished white marble.
According the The New York Review of Books, this is “A perceptive, thoughtful, original, and richly illustrated exercise in the dramatic personification of buildings of all sorts.”
What I find irrestible in reading Mr. de Botton is his use of language.
I get the feeling that if you made a spread sheet of all the words, adverbs and adjectives used by Mr. de Botton, you just might find that he used each word just once.
Neat trick in writing a book.
If I knew how to do that, I would.