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

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Feb 5, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
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.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - juniperSun - LibraryThing

Shields uses facts and statistics to distance himself from the emotions he feels about his father. Interspersed stories about their lives show the competitiveness he feels toward him. He also tries to show how closely sex and death are tied together. Not a very rewarding read. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - grandpahobo - LibraryThing

This is an unusual book. The author combines myriads of statistics related to human physiological development with reminiscences and current stories about his father. He even includes some stories ... Read full review

Contents

Our Birth Is Nothing but Our Death Begun
3
Decline and Fall
9
Paradise Soon Lost
19
Motherhood
27
Hoop Dream ii
34
Rattlesnake Lake
43
Boys vs Girls ii
49
Superheroes
59
Notes on the Local Swimming Hole I2 I
121
Hoop Dream viii
135
Decline and Fall iii
139
The Thing About Life Is That One
151
Boys vs Girls iv
160
Death Is the Mother of Beauty
173
How to Live Forever i
181
How to Live Forever ii
189

Hoop Dreams iv and v
66
Ye Olde MindBody Problem
78
Decline and Fall ii
87
Bloodline to Star Power ii
98
Sex Changes Everything
104
The Trouble with Being Food III
111
Bloodline to Star Power iii
200
The Story Told One Last Time
211
Notes for Eulogy for My Father
218
PERMISSIONS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
227
Copyright

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Page 7 - The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.

About the author (2008)

David Shields is the author of eight previous books, including Black Planet: Facing Race during an NBA Season (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), Remote: Reflections on Life in the Shadow of Celebrity (winner of the PEN/Revson Award), and Dead Languages: A Novel (winner of a PEN/Syndicated Fiction award). A senior editor of Conjunctions, Shields has published essays and stories in dozens of periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine, Harper's Magazine, Yale Review, Village Voice, Salon, Slate, McSweeney's, and Believer. He teaches at the University of Washington and lives in Seattle with his wife and daughter.

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