The BBC announced yesterday that nineteen titles have been named to the longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction, several of which readers would have no difficulty placing in the "creative nonfiction" category. Among these are Swiss author Alain de Botton's The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, an exploration of the modern workplace in all its forms. From the book's promotional copy: "We spend most of our waking lives at work—in occupations often chosen by our unthinking younger selves. And yet we rarely ask ourselves how we got there or what our occupations mean to us." Published in the U.K. in April by Hamish Hamilton, it is forthcoming from Pantheon Books in June.
Other notable titles on the longlist include Philip Hoare's Leviathan (Fourth Estate, 2008) and David Grann's The Lost City of Z (Simon & Schuster, 2009). Bookseller.com has the entire longlist. The winner, who will be announced on June 30, receives twenty thousand pounds (or just over thirty thousand dollars).
Below is a video of Alain de Botton (who last year helped establish London's School of Life, a refreshingly simple take on education) discussing his new book earlier this year in Melbourne. Best line? Might be the one at the beginning: "To be a modern human being—to be alive in the modern world—is never to be far from a career crisis."
And on that note, enjoy your weekend!