The Thing about Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead
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—Shiel ...more
The book is very much homage to the author’s once spirited, indefatigable, and often annoying father, who is finally (at the age of 97) showing signs of mortality. In it Shields discusses different aspects of life, touching on birth, childhood, food, sex, etc.; and of course, death. Th ...more
Shields hasn’t so much written a book as he ...more
"The body never lies."___Martha Graham
This very morning upon finally reaching the last section of this book here, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead, the final section sub-headed Old Age and Death, I felt relieved and somewhat anxious. The book has not been hard at all to read up to this point, but I was a little tired of all the foreplay as this final section is what I really came here for. All the writing leadi ...more
the book has so many interesting facts and quotes that i ended up dogearing almost the entire book, so i'll just include the prologue:
"this book is an autobiography of my body, a biography of my father's body, an anatomy of our bodies together- especially my dad's, his body, his relentless body.
this is my research; this is what i now know: the b ...more
A near-terminal case.
Author David Shields runs this book along parallel and often intersecting tracks. One is a litany of facts regarding the birth, maturation and aging process. The other consists of reflections on his own life and, particularly, the life of his 97-year old father.
Not everyone will find this a novel; revelation (Hey – people age and die! Who knew???!) or a fascinating story.
The chapters offering straig ...more
There are roughly three modes of discourse in the book: the personal/family memoir, the straight scientific fact, and the liberal heaping doses of quotation ...more
The book is half-memoir and half meditation on death. I learned all kinds of interesting facts about death. Incidentally, the age of twenty-five is, in many respects, the peak of vitality. Our brains are as big and as active as they are going to be, both males an ...more
Reading this book I often felt a sense of voyeurism, looking with morbid fascination at my own disturbing future unfolding before my eyes. Truly, it is not death I fear, but the dying. This book did little to disconfirm that fear; it o ...more
Way too many facts, way too much author angst, not to mention the author's issues with his father. Parts of this book were amusing, but much of it was boring. I know that everyone is going to die, but Shields could have told me that on page 1, and saved me having to slog through the next 224 pages. It does get two stars because it kept my interest enough so I didn't give up on it in the middle.
Consensus from our discussion today was, "this is an odd book".
At first I was charmed by this book, but after page 50 I had to force myself to finish. Terrible.
Lots of quotes (quite interesting)
and some anecdotes and reflections (some ok but parts I had to skip over-) and for the dreams and the baseball games I had to drop this to a 3 although I really quite enjoyed learning the ageing stuff.
So here I am, facing down 40 and feeling better physically and emotionally than I have in several years. The last thing I needed was to read this book, which I picked up because it has been designated as assigned reading for all first-year undergraduates at my school.
The Thing About Life is categorized by the publisher as a biography. As a biography, the book succeeds in fits and starts, with tenderly rendered passages about the author's childhood, and especially about his father, an interesting...more