Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead Paperback – February 10, 2009
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Amazon Significant Seven, February 2008: "After you turn 7, your risk of dying doubles every eight years." By your 80s, you "no longer even have a distinctive odor ... You're vanishing." "The brain of a 90-year-old is the same size as that of a 3-year-old." And it goes on and on. David Shields's litany of decay and decrepitude might have overwhelmed the age-sensitive reader (like this one), but The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead manages to transcend the maudlin by melding personal history with frank biological data about every stage of life, creating an "autobiography about my body" that seeks meaning in death, but moreover, life. Shields filters his frank--and usually foreboding--data through his own experience as a 51-year-old father with burgeoning back pain, contrasting his own gloomy tendencies with the defiant perspective of his own 97-year-old father, a man who has waged a lifelong, urgent battle against the infirmities of time. (If believed, his love life at age 70 was truly marvelous.) Interwoven with observations of philosophers from Cicero and Sophocles to Lauren Bacall and Woody Allen ("I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying."), Shields's book is a surprisingly moving and life-affirming embrace of the human condition, where inevitable failures and frailties become "thrilling" and "liberating," rather than dour portents of The End. --Jon Foro
Amazon.com Guest Review: Danielle Trussoni
David Shields's The Thing About Life is that One Day Youll Be Dead is an addictively punchy, startlingly brilliant exploration of our most essential relationship--the one between parent and child. Shields juxtaposes a storm of astonishing facts about the development of the human body ("By the time you're 5, your head has attained 90 percent of its mature size; by 7, your brain reaches 90 percent of its maximum weight; by 9, 95 percent; during adolescence, 100 percent") with an intimate portrait of himself as a son and father. The result is a naked, honest, and often funny book that forces one to look clearly at the realities of the body--especially the burden that biology imposes upon our inner life--in a fresh and disturbing way. The writing is fast, postmodern, and filled with quotations from such diverse sources as Shields's back doctor and Tolstoy. The style might be dizzying in the hands of a less perceptive narrator, but Shields has the eye of an archeologist cataloging the bizarre traits of an ancient civilization. How Shields managed to compress the whole mess of love, family, genetics, and desire into this elegant, elemental book is a wonder. --Danielle Trussoni, author of Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Shields has a wickedy dry, and yet very empathetic sense of humor. He piles up the facts and tells us a few stories. If you can find the secret of life in all this, fine. If not, that's ok as well.
Shields isn't pretending to offer any answers. That's the point: life flowers and wilts. In a way it's noble, and in a way, ridiculous. Bittersweet--that's how I'd characterize this book. Resigned. And fun to read.
Throughout our body, since conception, a process of birth and death is taking place every second--new cells are born while old ones die. Our body is attuned to the constant bombardment of birth and death taking place, yet we--the part that is not the body (call it spirit or soul)--are not. Why? Why do some people welcome death while others shun away from it? Would we be scared of dying if there was no love in this world? These are actually very interesting questions to ponder.
A lot of the book was about the author's relationship with his father. I found some chapters slow. I wanted the author to go more into the core of life and death. Maybe I missed something. Maybe the author wanted us to learn about death through his relationship with his father. If he did, I missed the point. I also found too much personal information about the author and his family that distracted me from the essence of the book. For example, the author talks about his sex life, his girlfriend's herpes, and his acne during his youth. Was the book meant as a biography or a memoir?
I did like the scientific information included, such as the difference in size between a girl's and a boy's brain and the physiology of ageing.
Some interesting chapters in the book:
Our birth is nothing but our death begun: existence is warfare. Human beings have existed for 250,000 years; during that time, 90 billion individuals have lived and died.
Decline and fall: All mammals age; the only animals that don't age are some of the more primitive ones: sharks, alligators, Galapagos tortoises. Schopenhauer said, "Just as we know our walking to be only a constantly prevented falling, so is the life of our body only a constantly prevented dying, an ever-deferred death."
Life is that which gives meaning to life: life is perfected by death.
How to live forever: In ancient Greece, old men were advised to lie down with beautiful virgins.
Towards the end of the book you'll realize that we are not learning how to live, but how to die.
A lot of factual tidbits of what our bodies are going through over the years were mixed in with stories of his life, but more of his Father's life.
Nice tribute to his Dad.
The book is a compilation of David Shields' eclectic thoughts on living and dying. At times he is presenting his own thoughts and experiences and at other times he is reflecting on his father's life and experiences. This interaction often leads to some confusion as to who he is writing about. As a self-proclaimed New York Jew, Mr. Shields also presents certain aspects of life in a Mort Saul style where nothing is sacred (let it all hang-out), which at times is quite crass from my point of view.
The book is also crammed with quotes from various people, only a few of which I recognized. In addition, Shields fills the book with snippets of scientific facts about what the body goes through at various stages of development and aging. In the end, what the reader has is potpourri of information.
If you are looking for a read that will educate you on living and dying, I don't think this book will do it.