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This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life Hardcover – April 14, 2009
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"We read Wallace because he forces us to think. He makes us consider what's beneath us and around us--like water."―Alicia J. Rouverol, The Christian Science Monitor
"Think of it as The Last Lecture for intellectuals."―Time
"None of the cloudlessly sane and true things he had to say about life in 2005 are any less sane or true today...[This is Water] reminds us of [Wallace's] strength and goodness and decency--the parts of him the terrible master [the mind] could never defeat, and never will."―Tom Bissel, New York Times Book Review
"Striking...is [Wallace's] evocative insight and humor."―Mark Follman, Mother Jones
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Top Customer Reviews
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006 (The Best American Series) The actual speech is, by the way, brilliant and moving, which is what makes this edition all the more tragic. (5 *'s for the speech 1 * for the edition itself)
That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense.
That is being taught how to think.
There are piles of these stand-alone sentences that should have never stood alone. But even reading it in order, first page to last, leaves the sense of the thing messed with terribly. The cadence is as college students reading poetry in their coffee-house meetings. Why format the book in the way it's formatted? For sense? To pre-chew the speech and let me know what to think about it by breaking it up into parts that make an editor's points, not the speechmaker's? It's formatted this way so that it is stretched out to almost 140 pages that can bring in >$10.
This isn't even getting into the censorship of his original speech.
This is a shameful recasting of a fantastic speech. Shameful. For shame!
The most terrible thing is that we see a hint that, in death perhaps as in life, the people who were close to DWF clearly don't get it.
Do not buy this.
I can see why the publishers formatted it the way they did: to generate recurring sales in that May and June period when most graduations take place, and to make it a pocket-sized, easily consumable text. From a marketing/publishing standpoint this makes perfect sense, and the reviewers hung up on these details seem to be missing the point of the book.
This is why I believe this book deserves 5 stars: any David Foster Wallace follower would be eager, no matter where else the text exists (for free or otherwise), to add to their DFW collection a volume that is so unlike any other he produced. Where his short stories, nonfiction and novels are forever-winding and humanly complex, "This is Water" is a simple masterwork, no less human (and possibly even more so, with its parable-rhetoric) but much less intricate, at least on the most obvious levels. This alone makes the book a welcome addition to any personal library, DFW-focused or not.
The speech itself is warm without being sentimental; it's grounded in reality the way few commencement speeches are, yet it achieves a feeling of inspiration that seems to be, at first thought, highly unlikely, considering the general topic of the speech: surviving the banality of everyday life as a functioning adult.
For those not familiar with Wallace, "This is Water" provides a thoughtful analysis of the realities of adulthood.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed it, worth reading. Very short and over priced at 10 for an electronic copy I finished in 10 minutes.Published 8 days ago
David Foster Wallace wrote numerous books, some brilliant, receiving well-deserved praise. "This is Water" is not fiction. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Lee Underwood — Poet: Diamondfire
A friend introduced me to 'This is Water' to be read after watching End of the Tour. Great progression to really enjoying this book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by LABibliophile
I love reading this, it reminds me to try , not to judge so fast and not be bothered so much by those who do. What a loss in his death.Published 1 month ago by Iam57
I have yet to finish the book, but I can sincerely say you will not be disappointed( very many insights)Published 1 month ago by Jeffrey M. Jacks
I give this to every graduate. Unique advice, offering clarity that's not easily found or heard these days.Published 1 month ago by S. Calhoun
It's ironic that I have never heard of David Foster Wallace before today and sort of highlights my own thought process. Mr. Read morePublished 2 months ago by G. M. Barry