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Cigarettes are Sublime - Richard Klein

I only read this book because it was quoted in almost every other smoking book I have read.

I’m not sure who else would be interested in this book, other than those who are formally interested in smoking AND enjoy poetry.

I have the formal interest, but I’m not into poetry, so this book was a bit of a chore.

Though, I did appreciate the lengthy outline of the history of smoking as seen through connoisseurs. Normally the history of smoking is written as an actual history, and though all such history books quote the artists and poets who lamented tobacco, this entire book was written as an ode.

What I found most interesting was the comparison between the past accounts of tobacco as a sort of god, compared to the modern idea of it as a demon. The author interestingly attributes much of the APPEAL of smoking to its demonic nature - the slight poisonous feeling that all smokers, and all addictions encompass, the unpleasurable pleasure present in every addiction.

Those of us who have been addicted to this plant will sympathize with this description deeply, but I fear that non smokers will never understand it, whether or not they read this (or any) book.

PS this book is probably more enjoyable if you understand a bit of French, as most of the poets used are French, and the translations never quite do it justice, even though most quotes are presented in both languages.