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The Thing Itself: On the Search for Authenticity Paperback – August 4, 2009
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
a"The New York Times"
aAn arch and eloquent meditation.a
a"O," the Oprah magazine
aDazzling, beautifully crafted...A small masterpiecea and asmalla only because of its brevity, not its scope.a
aProvocative and oddly comfortinga]Refreshing.a
a"The Arizona Republic"
aA fully realized, brave, and movingly honest memoira][Todd] makes a figure in which to contemplate ourselves.a
aA splendid book, brimming with wit and original insightsa]Most pertinent to the way we live now.a
aWard Just, author of "Forgetfulness"
"There is a sweet memoir embedded in this book of cultural criticism, into which Mr. Todd has deftly wrangled the whole gang, from Jean Baudrillard to Lionel Trilling."
-"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"
About the Author
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 ›
Part I: The Things of This World
Lure of the Old. On the value of the antique object.
Status. On our desire to acquire prestige through objects. “No object is an idea,” e.g., the flag.
Tears of Things. On cleaning out the barn, a “museum of false enthusiasms.”
Objets d’Art. What if nobody could tell the difference between a reproduction and the original work of art, for example, Michelangelo’s David or the Lascaux caves in France?
Part II: Places
Touring. On the destructiveness of tourism.
The Country. The country vs. the suburb. How are they different?
Preservation. New people (preservationists) vs. old people (don’t tell me what to do with my land!)
Two American Places. Comparing two places of grotesque fakery: Disney World and Las Vegas.
My Mall. Baleful reflections upon a mall built in a beautiful valley.
Refuge. What is wilderness? Even our “wild places” are parks. Does human tinkering make a place less beautiful?
Part III: Weeping Nation
The Greening. On the division of society into little communities of self-interest.
Celebrity. What our fascination with celebrities tells us about ourselves and them.
Unreal. Examines the way in which modern media manipulate our perception of reality and concludes that we are, at least in part, responsible for allowing this.
Weeping Nation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved reading this, and the other book he co-authored with Tracy Kidder, Good Prose. I don't agree with him about half the time, but he's good at arguing his point and it's fun... Read morePublished 5 months ago by K.
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 on April 16, 2014 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
Richard Todd's THE THING ITSELF presented itself as instructing through example. It is a series of personal essays that, as the subtitle says, are "on the search for authenticity. Read morePublished on July 30, 2012 by Elizabeth Ashe
Two years after reading this book (I'm here because I'm buying it, again, as a gift) I can recall more than a few things I took from it. That's saying something. Read morePublished on August 12, 2011 by Grrrdaliah
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