25 Books to Read Before You Die
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


The Powell's Playlist | August 6, 2014

Graham Joyce: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Graham Joyce



The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit is set on the English coast in the hot summer of 1976, so the music in this playlist is pretty much all from the... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$4.95
List price: $15.95
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

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

by

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

ISBN13: 9780307387967
ISBN10: 0307387968
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 2 left in stock at $4.95!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Inspired by the immense vitality of his 90-something father, author Shields (Body Politic: The Great American Sports Machine) looks at the arc of a human life in order to come to terms with mortality. Organized into four stages of life-infancy and childhood, adolescence, adulthood and middle age, old age and death-Shields's short, snappy chapters are crafted from personal anecdotes (many featuring his wife and teenage daughter), literary-philosophical musing and enlightening scientific data, examining a wide range of human concerns relating to 'the beauty and pathos in my body and his body and everybody else's body as well.' Shields also visits historical and contemporary figures, from Sigmund Freud to John Ruskin and Woody Allen, for their thoughts on mortality; says Picasso, 'One starts to get young at the age of sixty, and then it's too late.' Shield's eclectic approach and personal voice makes this extended meditation on living and dying a pleasing and occasionally profound read." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"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

Review:

"It's a bold writer who dares to tackle head-on the subject of what it means to be human — something that David Shields does with an extraordinary mixture of tenderness, humor, and inexhaustible curiosity." Jonathan Raban

Review:

"The Thing About Life grabbed me from the start. It's extremely compelling, gorgeous in many places. I loved it. And I wish I had written it." Lauren Slater

Review:

"There are paragraphs so finely wrought, so precisely tuned to the narrow-band channels between reader and writer, that the caught breath of inspiration and the sighs of expiration leave us grinning and breathless....This diamond of a book." Boston Globe

Review:

"[W]hen Shields sat down to write, he made a wise and generous decision: to convey what he learned in a confident but self-deprecating manner, the way a smart friend might share facts over the dinner table." Seattle Times

Review:

"Enthralling, perplexing, illuminating and discombobulated....[A] fascinating, demanding read." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Mr. Shields is a sharp-eyed, self-deprecating, at times hilarious writer." Wall Street Journal

Synopsis:

In this beautifully written book, part philosophical meditation and part physiological examination, Shields confronts his own mortality and that of his persistently optimistic, and seemingly age-defying father.

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

David Shields is the author of eight previous books of fiction and nonfiction, including Black Planet (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), Remote (winner of the PEN/Revson Award), and Dead Languages (winner of the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award). A senior editor at Conjunctions, Shields has published essays and stories in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's Magazine, The Yale Review, the Village Voice, Salon, Slate, McSweeney's, and The Believer. He lives with his wife and daughter in Seattle, where he is a professor in the English department at the University of Washington.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Chris Horne, March 12, 2009 (view all comments by Chris Horne)
David Shields is miffed. His adolescent daughter is a soccer prodigy, romping on the pitch with nary an ache or pain. His father steams towards 100, still vital and prickly in a Catskills stud kind of way. Shields himself is fifty and feels every one of his years. Hangovers are no longer physical but metaphysical, his back is shot and he's developed an obsession with death.

But it's the obsession of a man who, for all his gripes, is engaged in life. Death is a shark out there hovering. But until you put the blood in the water, the shark stays put.

Shields offers alternating chapters of objective data on the body's demise and famous commentary on The Big Sleep with subjective epigrams of pique and pathos. Shields laments but never mopes. He is in awe (and peevishly envious) of his father who somehow has figured out the cosmic joke of existence yet never pauses long enough to let the realization that the joke is on us get him down.

This is a great book, subversive in its brevity and ferocity. A communique of rabbit punches.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307387967
Author:
Shields, David
Publisher:
Vintage
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
memoir;death;non-fiction;philosophy;aging;essays;biography;mortality
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20090210
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
7.98x5.22x.74 in. .59 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. The Emperor Used Trade Paper $9.50
  2. The Kindly Ones
    Used Hardcover $7.50
  3. Saying the World Used Trade Paper $5.50
  4. Stronger: Timothy Kelly (Field Poetry) Used Trade Paper $3.50
  5. The Divine Comedy: Inferno (Bantam...
    Used Mass Market $3.50
  6. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for...
    Used Hardcover $9.98

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Medical
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Thing about Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead (Vintage) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Vintage - English 9780307387967 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Inspired by the immense vitality of his 90-something father, author Shields (Body Politic: The Great American Sports Machine) looks at the arc of a human life in order to come to terms with mortality. Organized into four stages of life-infancy and childhood, adolescence, adulthood and middle age, old age and death-Shields's short, snappy chapters are crafted from personal anecdotes (many featuring his wife and teenage daughter), literary-philosophical musing and enlightening scientific data, examining a wide range of human concerns relating to 'the beauty and pathos in my body and his body and everybody else's body as well.' Shields also visits historical and contemporary figures, from Sigmund Freud to John Ruskin and Woody Allen, for their thoughts on mortality; says Picasso, 'One starts to get young at the age of sixty, and then it's too late.' Shield's eclectic approach and personal voice makes this extended meditation on living and dying a pleasing and occasionally profound read." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "It's a bold writer who dares to tackle head-on the subject of what it means to be human — something that David Shields does with an extraordinary mixture of tenderness, humor, and inexhaustible curiosity."
"Review" by , "The Thing About Life grabbed me from the start. It's extremely compelling, gorgeous in many places. I loved it. And I wish I had written it."
"Review" by , "There are paragraphs so finely wrought, so precisely tuned to the narrow-band channels between reader and writer, that the caught breath of inspiration and the sighs of expiration leave us grinning and breathless....This diamond of a book."
"Review" by , "[W]hen Shields sat down to write, he made a wise and generous decision: to convey what he learned in a confident but self-deprecating manner, the way a smart friend might share facts over the dinner table."
"Review" by , "Enthralling, perplexing, illuminating and discombobulated....[A] fascinating, demanding read."
"Review" by , "Mr. Shields is a sharp-eyed, self-deprecating, at times hilarious writer."
"Synopsis" by , In this beautifully written book, part philosophical meditation and part physiological examination, Shields confronts his own mortality and that of his persistently optimistic, and seemingly age-defying father.
"Synopsis" by , 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.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.