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How Best to Avoid Dying

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  165 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
[i]Lazarus Dying[/i]: the man Jesus raised from the dead is alive and living in New York City. [i]The Fecalist[/i]: an author whose best selling work is his latest poop. [i]Christmas[/i]: she loves you, you love her, she has a gun in your mouth. Welcome to the award-winning short fiction of Owen Egerton. Egerton, a rising star in Austin's growing literary scene, has a gift ...more
Paperback, 183 pages
Published June 17th 2007 by Dalton Publishing (first published June 1st 2007)
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If you've a hankering for chilling short stories that will linger in unpleasant ways in your head long after you've put the book down, be at peace & look no further. Egerton can write a pretty nasty little tale. Most of these are no more than three or so pages long, so you're automatically primed to keep telling yourself "Just one more!" and staying up way too late, feeling more and more deeply unsettled as you read. I particularly enjoyed his twist on religion - the lengths that camp counse ...more
Jul 21, 2008 Kathryn rated it liked it
You will get funny looks if you read this book on an airplane.
Adam Morgan
Feb 27, 2014 Adam Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Owen Egerton is a novelist and a screenwriter known for his dark, satirical humor. His work often touches on religion, as evidenced by his last two novels, The Book of Harold, a modern-day gospel narrative, and Everyone Says That at the End of the World, which riffs on the Judeo-Christian eschatology of the end times.

In this glossy reprint of his first short story collection, How Best to Avoid Dying, lost souls search for meaning in both life and death. In “The Martyrs of Mountain Peak,” counsel
Paul Eckert
Apr 07, 2013 Paul Eckert rated it really liked it
I've had this book on the shelf for so long. Glad I finally got around to reading it.

As with any good collection of short stories, the tales in How Best to Avoid Dying are hilarious, sad, and bittersweet, often within the same story, and all manage to tie into the title in interesting ways.

Egerton is at his best when he's focused on the obsessions of everyday folk. "Waffle," a story about a former Waffle House quality control guy who goes to a Waffle House and ruminates on every thing they've
Dec 18, 2007 Chris rated it liked it
There's enough to like in this swarm of stories (18 in all) that swing from the fully ridiculous(like, a penis abandons its owner ridiculous) to the mostly ridiculous (like "I crapped and called it art" ridiculous). I bought it after reading the nearly perfect "Spelling" aloud to my classes, and some here live up to its promise. The "The Adventures of Stimp" and "The Turtle and the Snail" are especially fantastic.
Jay Olson
Sep 17, 2008 Jay Olson rated it it was amazing
What can I say about this book?! It. Is. Great. Owen Egerton's short stories are right up my alley - darkly, almost pitch black, hilarious. Gut wrenching. Layered. My favorite entertainment in any genere is simply that which reflects life. And life is funny, sad, scary, loud, calm and everything at different times and sometimes all at once.

We are all headed toward the same fate - read this book and let's connect before then, shall we?
Jul 18, 2012 Dennis rated it really liked it
The whole collection is pretty funny with some parts among the funniest things I've read. What's especially striking is that some of the stories that made me laugh most also brought me closest to tears. "The Martyrs of Mountain Peak" and "Lazarus Dying" are clear standouts in this respect, with deft handling of religion that manages to point out what's absurd without being mocking.
May 01, 2010 Laura rated it it was amazing
So much weirder than I ever dreamt, and so so good! I mean, I don't know exactly what I expected....I knew it would be hilarious, because Owen wrote it, but it was so much more than that. Highly recommend this book to everyone except those who are looking for a something that doesn't contain a lot of death.

I think Miss Gobbler is really my favorite character EVER.
Jul 14, 2009 Vicki rated it it was amazing
Interesting and unique read. I'm not sure I'm deep enough/smart enough to fully appreciate it, but I still couldn't put it down. I actually grew up with the author and he was in my short lived garage band in junior high. I'm glad he found his true calling as a very funny writer.
May 01, 2009 Hil rated it it was amazing
Owen brilliantly ties in themes of death into all of his short stories. Before you dismiss this as morbid, remember that death can come in many forms--a dead car battery, a dying romance, a broken friendship. I highly recommend it. I loaned my copy out and am now afraid I won't get it back.
Aug 26, 2010 Michelle rated it really liked it
Was exactly what it said it would be, dark and funny. The stories were truly original and I wasn't sure where any would go once they started. My favs were the first one and the one about the religious camp.
Mitzi Moore
Apr 19, 2014 Mitzi Moore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After meeting Owen Egerton at the Literary Death Match in San Antonio this month (he was the runner-up), I just had to buy this book. Despite the title, I didn't expect it to be about dying. It was so BIZARRE, but also intriguing, fascinating (sometimes repulsive). I couldn't put it down.
Jan 09, 2012 Renee rated it it was amazing
Hilarious, gruesome, startlingly creative, and finally, surprisingly, devastatingly beautiful. I don't know what I expected but this was not it. Amazing.
Zack Quaintance
May 13, 2014 Zack Quaintance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very sharp, funny collection. Favorite stories: Pierced, The Martyrs of Mountain Peak, and Lord Baxtor Ballsington.
Kevin Mckinnon
May 03, 2014 Kevin Mckinnon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wicked and morbidly dark little stories. Reading them is like handling razor blades.
I won this book as part of a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

It wasn't what I expected but I am glad that I read this book. The stories were very unique, weird, touching, sad, and beautiful.
Jun 24, 2007 Faye rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
I knew Owen was amazingly talented, but his book blew me away. Interesting, bizarre stories beautifully written. The pages kept turning and turning. Loved it.
David Failing
Strange. Just strange.
Aug 24, 2007 Matt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shortstories
I wish I wrote this, there I said it. Are you happy universe!?
Feb 26, 2017 Tai rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Yuuuuhhhhhhhhlllll. This is troubling. I feel dirtied up inside having read this. Don't get me wrong, "disturbing" is one of my favorite genres, but this was pitiful/disturbing. It was Eagleman's Sum without the charm. It was a poor attempt at quirky. This collection of stories lacked any and all meaning to me, and I was searching hard.

All of these stories just dead end and reek of true depression. The plots are not even interesting. I kept waiting for something to flourish, for a story to feel
Absolom J. Hagg
The truth is, I hate giving less than 4 stars to any book. I know how much time and effort the writer had to put in just to get this thing published. At the same time though, some books just don't work for me. In this case, I think the writing is solid but the stories don't add up to emotion. I think each story has a smart premise but gets bogged down in cleverness. I think I'm starting to realize that absurdism (although I'm probably painting absurdism with too narrow a brush here) is just not ...more
Jul 09, 2015 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Egerton writes some of the most interesting short stories I've ever read. After a long bout of Bukowski in my teens I looked for somebody else to captivate my imagination and couldn't find a replacement, until now. How Best To Avoid Dying is pure entertainment for those who enjoy this kind of book. Those who don't, those who can't see past the surface, will never appreciate the ideas underneath. I can't say anything about this book that hasn't been said already and I'm not going to try. Just rea ...more
Bryan Dunn
Apr 15, 2015 Bryan Dunn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the first half of the stories, but the last several started to drag for me a bit. His style and wit seem better suited to the shorter, punchier stories; when a story lasts for more than a few pages, it usually loses momentum. Still, on the whole, I enjoyed it.
Michele Baber
This collection of short stories has a dark edge, and I like it. Many stories focus on the absurd or smack the reader in the face with absurdity at the end. Each story is brief, and they all stand alone, making this the perfect read for someone who gets interrupted often while reading.
Robert Glover
Curious and clever. I enjoyed some, but overall, not a lot of depth.
Monika Hoang
Monika Hoang rated it it was amazing
Oct 09, 2015
James Collins
James Collins rated it it was amazing
Nov 24, 2016
Jim rated it really liked it
Oct 27, 2015
Jack C. Buck
Jack C. Buck rated it liked it
Oct 07, 2014
Peter rated it liked it
Mar 12, 2015
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Owen Egerton is the author of the novel The Book of Harold, the Illegitimate Son of God as well as the novel Marshall Hollenzer is Driving and the short story collection How Best to Avoid Dying. He is also an accomplished screenplay writer and commentator for NPR affiliated stations. He is also the co-creator of the award winning comedy hit The Sinus Show which performed for six years at the Alamo ...more
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