"Montaigne lived in France in the 1500â€™s but I picked a Penguin Classics edition of his essays out of a recycling bin on my way to work in 1994. I read him on the train and wondered if those peculiar stains on the cover meant I should wash, and then rip the covers off if I wanted to keep reading it. Then Montaigne says, â€œKings and philosophers defecate, and so do ladies.â€ Which reminded me, guy lived in 15th century France, a lot dirtier era than mine. Somehow this allowed me to relax and take in what I was reading. He was crass, wrote about sex and farting and royalty and was utterly self-absorbed back when self-absorption was a new and radical thing called Humanism and could get you burned at the stake if you lived in Spain. Now everybody does it and we call it blogging."