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The Thing Itself: On the Search for Authenticity Paperback – August 4, 2009
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-The New York Times
"An arch and eloquent meditation."
-O, the Oprah magazine
"Dazzling, beautifully crafted...A small masterpiece- and 'small' only because of its brevity, not its scope."
"Provocative and oddly comforting...Refreshing."
-The Arizona Republic
"A fully realized, brave, and movingly honest memoir...[Todd] makes a figure in which to contemplate ourselves."
"A splendid book, brimming with wit and original insights...Most pertinent to the way we live now."
-Ward Just, author of Forgetfulness --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
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Top Customer Reviews
Todd begins with an anecdote about buying a lovely antique. When this item turns out to be a fake, Todd wonders why this should even matter. After all, the object is still beautiful; it hasn't changed. He then goes on to explore both the nature of authenticity and the history of our yearning for it.
He follows a meandering path, which is a large part of the book's charm. I loved the asides and byways, many of which left me with a desire to travel further along them. I also loved the details contained in these asides. I'm grateful, too, for the specific titles that Todd mentions. Most of all, though, I loved the tone: kind, thoughtful, inclusive, and deeply human. Todd does not make this an abstract discussion. He personalizes it in ways that will help every reader know just what he means.
I read this quickly so I could pass on my copy to my brother. Now I need more copies to give as gifts. I guess the first person to get one will be me.
I read THE THING ITSELF (for the first time) while on vacation with several other families. Eleven of us packed into these tiny decaying bungalows on a pond in the woods. Dick's book was passed around from reader to reader.Read more ›
The book is a collection of interlinked essays on the theme of authenticity. It is a personal vision and the author presents it throughout. The author's tone and point of view is also that suited to the essay format. This is the personal vision on a limited subject, not a speech to the public but an after dinner talk or one delivered across the seminar table to a select few.
Authenticity as described in the book includes not only life choices and art, but also writing. The author directly addresses euthenics in nonfiction writing and the pitfalls and limitations inherent in the decisions an author must make of how to participate in, shape or appear in their own work. He is explicit on the difficulty to achieve veracity, let alone authenticity, in first person writing. "No word in English is more likely than "I" to precede a lie, and if the subject is complicated at all, the pronoun must almost without fail precede a half-truth". (p. 206)
Todd's summation of the dilemma the writer has to deal with a result of this reality, that "all memoir is at its heart fictive" (p.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a collection of 21 essays about the author’s search for authenticity in four areas of life: things, places, other people, and finally, in himself. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Fezziwig
This is a well-written, thought provoking set of essays that will have you considering ideas and perspectives you probably haven't considered before. Recommended.Published 22 months ago by Michael J. Tobias
Todd is an editor and writer of great talent. This book is beautifully conceived and written. Anyone who loves to read or wants to create a thoughtful piece of writing herself... Read morePublished on February 9, 2014 by BiCoastalBookWorm
This book is a pure pleasure to read - for its beauty, its intelligence, its humor, and its humility. Read morePublished on September 4, 2012 by Phyllis Theroux
This book was recommended to me by a friend who knew that I would appreciate Richard Todd's message. Read morePublished on March 13, 2011 by jmegg
If there is is point to this collection of words, I can't find it. I kept reading, searching for something that made sense, but was left with the feeling that there is no there,... Read morePublished on November 12, 2009 by L. Darnell
The prevailing style in the reviews of the hardcover edition of Todd's book was personal confession. So here's mine. Dick Todd is a friend of mine too. Not a good one, mind you. Read morePublished on September 1, 2009 by Jonathan Diamond
Good undergraduate senior thesis level. Professional journalistic writing and structure. Cites appropriate ideas from English language works at the proper places. Read morePublished on April 27, 2009 by Nemo