9780307387967

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

Shields, David

ISBN 10: 0307387968 / 0-307-38796-8
ISBN 13: 9780307387967
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 2009
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
New York Times bestseller
Best Nonfiction Book of the Year, TimeOut Chicago
Chosen by Artforum as one of the 25 best books of the year
Best Reads of 2008, Salon
Chosen as one of the twenty best nonfiction books of 2008, Seattle Times
Chosen by Amazon as one of its Significant Seven for February 2008 and one of the 50 best books of the year
Powell's Books New Favorite, Staff Pick
BookSense Selection
Finalist for the Washington State Book Award, 2009

Mesmerized and somewhat unnerved by his 97-year-old father's vitality and optimism, David Shields undertakes an original investigation of our flesh-and-blood existence, our mortal being. Weaving together personal anecdote, biological fact, philosophical doubt, cultural criticism, and the wisdom of an eclectic range of writers and thinkers--from Lucretius to Woody Allen--Shields expertly renders both a hilarious family portrait and a truly resonant meditation on mortality. The Thing About Life provokes us to contemplate the brevity and radiance of our own sojourn on earth and challenges us to rearrange our thinking in crucial and unexpected ways.

Review:
Amazon Significant Seven, February 2008: "After you turn 7, your risk of dying doubles every eight years." By your 80s, you "no longer even have a distinctive odor ... You're vanishing." "The brain of a 90-year-old is the same size as that of a 3-year-old." And it goes on and on. David Shields's litany of decay and decrepitude might have overwhelmed the age-sensitive reader (like this one), but The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead manages to transcend the maudlin by melding personal history with frank biological data about every stage of life, creating an "autobiography about my body" that seeks meaning in death, but moreover, life. Shields filters his frank--and usually foreboding--data through his own experience as a 51-year-old father with burgeoning back pain, contrasting his own gloomy tendencies with the defiant perspective of his own 97-year-old father, a man who has waged a lifelong, urgent battle against the infirmities of time. (If believed, his love life at age 70 was truly marvelous.) Interwoven with observations of philosophers from Cicero and Sophocles to Lauren Bacall and Woody Allen ("I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying."), Shields's book is a surprisingly moving and life-affirming embrace of the human condition, where inevitable failures and frailties become "thrilling" and "liberating," rather than dour portents of The End. --Jon Foro


Amazon.com Guest Review: Danielle Trussoni
David Shields's The Thing About Life is that One Day You’ll Be Dead is an addictively punchy, startlingly brilliant exploration of our most essential relationship--the one between parent and child. Shields juxtaposes a storm of astonishing facts about the development of the human body ("By the time you're 5, your head has attained 90 percent of its mature size; by 7, your brain reaches 90 percent of its maximum weight; by 9, 95 percent; during adolescence, 100 percent") with an intimate portrait of himself as a son and father. The result is a naked, honest, and often funny book that forces one to look clearly at the realities of the body--especially the burden that biology imposes upon our inner life--in a fresh and disturbing way. The writing is fast, postmodern, and filled with quotations from such diverse sources as Shields's back doctor and Tolstoy. The style might be dizzying in the hands of a less perceptive narrator, but Shields has the eye of an archeologist cataloging the bizarre traits of an ancient civilization. How Shields managed to compress the whole mess of love, family, genetics, and desire into this elegant, elemental book is a wonder. --Danielle Trussoni, author of Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir

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The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead (ISBN: 9780307387967)
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Book Description: Random House USA Inc, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 204 x 133 mm. Brand New Book. Mesmerized and somewhat unnerved by his 97-year-old father s vitality and optimism, David Shields undertakes an original investigation of our flesh-and-blood existence, our mortal being.Weaving together personal anecdote, biological fact, philosophical doubt, cultural criticism, and the wisdom of an eclectic range of writers and thinkers--from Lucretius to Woody Allen--Shields expertly renders both a hilarious family portrait and a truly resonant meditation on mortality.The Thing About Life provokes us to contemplate the brevity and radiance of our own sojourn on earth and challenges us to rearrange our thinking in crucial and unexpected ways. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780307387967

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Book Description: Paperback. Book Condition: New. 133mm x 20mm x 204mm. Paperback. Mesmerized and somewhat unnerved by his 97-year-old father's vitality and optimism, David Shields undertakes an original investigation of our flesh-and-blood existence, our mortal bei.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 225 pages. 0.290. Bookseller Inventory # 9780307387967

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Book Description: Random House USA Inc, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 204 x 133 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. Mesmerized and somewhat unnerved by his 97-year-old father s vitality and optimism, David Shields undertakes an original investigation of our flesh-and-blood existence, our mortal being.Weaving together personal anecdote, biological fact, philosophical doubt, cultural criticism, and the wisdom of an eclectic range of writers and thinkers--from Lucretius to Woody Allen--Shields expertly renders both a hilarious family portrait and a truly resonant meditation on mortality.The Thing About Life provokes us to contemplate the brevity and radiance of our own sojourn on earth and challenges us to rearrange our thinking in crucial and unexpected ways. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780307387967

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