The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead

The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead

Book - 2008
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"David Shields has accomplished something here so pure and wide in its implications that I almost think of it as a secular, unsentimental Kahlil Gibran: a textbook for the acceptance of our fate on earth." --Jonathan Lethem

Mesmerized--at times unnerved--by his ninety-seven-year-old father's nearly superhuman vitality and optimism, David Shields undertakes an investigation of the human physical condition. The result is this exhilarating book: both a personal meditation on mortality and an exploration of flesh-and-blood existence from crib to oblivion--an exploration that paradoxically prompts a renewed and profound appreciation of life.

Shields begins with the facts of birth and childhood, expertly weaving in anecdotal information about himself and his father. As the book proceeds through adolescence, middle age, old age, he juxtaposes biological details with bits of philosophical speculation, cultural history and criticism, and quotations from a wide range of writers and thinkers--from Lucretius to Woody Allen--yielding a magical whole: the universal story of our bodily being, a tender and often hilarious portrait of one family.

A book of extraordinary depth and resonance, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead will move readers to contemplate the brevity and radiance of their own sojourn on earth and challenge them to rearrange their thinking in unexpected and crucial ways.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.
ISBN: 9780307268044
Branch Call Number: 813 SHIEL
Characteristics: xvi, 225 pages ; 22 cm

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chatkanuda
Aug 09, 2012

Shields challenges the autobiographical genre by shattering it into pieces and weaving it through a deluge of facts about the human life cycle. In doing so, he represents our current condition—fragmented and overloaded by information—in a way that typical narrative arcs do not and cannot. The tone is candid and the writing is brisk: sometimes poignant, sometimes glib. The pieces do seem to add up to something larger, but nothing terribly significant, insightful, or necessary for me. A good summer read to get you thinking about things for the fall.

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Pisinga
Mar 18, 2011

Not bad. There are many phrases of famouse people about life and death. It gives the impression that the author's point of view is - no matter what we do, or how wise or rish we are, the end is always the same - the death of our physical body. And so it is.
At times, stories about the life of the author and tof his father interspersed likely chaotically.
Some descriptions of the sport are kind of boring.

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chatkanuda
Aug 09, 2012

"Living with a manic depressive wasn't like living with a drug addict. It wasn't like living with a funeral...It was more like that: just knowing every lake is man-mande and sore or later needs to be emptied."

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