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Posts tagged "david shields"

May 04, 2013
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David Shields, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead

I put off reading this book because I couldn’t imagine it could get any better than the title.

Couple of things to know about me at this moment:

I’m a month or so away from turning 30. 
I’ve been sort of obsessed with thinking about death ever since my son was born.
I caught a nasty cold this week, and when I have a cold I spend a lot of time on my back thinking about my body and its eventual demise. 
So yeah, this book and me, we got along. Won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and Shields can be a little much when he turns inward instead of outward, but I found the collage style pretty damned propulsive…kept me turning pages.

Filed under: my reading year 2013

David Shields, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead

I put off reading this book because I couldn’t imagine it could get any better than the title.

Couple of things to know about me at this moment:

  1. I’m a month or so away from turning 30.
  2. I’ve been sort of obsessed with thinking about death ever since my son was born.
  3. I caught a nasty cold this week, and when I have a cold I spend a lot of time on my back thinking about my body and its eventual demise.

So yeah, this book and me, we got along. Won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and Shields can be a little much when he turns inward instead of outward, but I found the collage style pretty damned propulsive…kept me turning pages.

Filed under: my reading year 2013

Feb 16, 2013
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David Shields, How Literature Saved My Life1

Stephen Colbert: “You say you’re not bound by 19th century conventions, right? So why are you bound to the 19th century convention of [a] book? Why didn’t you just put this on a website, or xerox it, or pass it out on street corners wearing a trash bag for a dress?”
“[U]n- or even anti-literary types haven’t stopped reading. They just don’t get as excited about the book form. The blog form: immediacy, relative lack of scrim between writer and reader, promised delivery of unmediated reality.” (p. 167)
David Shields’ blog is a list of links to reviews of his book. 
He is better at Twitter: @_DavidShields
NYTimes: “When you read David Shields, the first thing you learn is that he takes literature very seriously. The second thing you learn is how seriously he takes his taking seriously of literature.” 
“[Ray Kurzweil] seems to me the saddest person on the planet. I emphasize with him completely.” (p. 86)
“Every quality I despise in George Bush is a quality I despise in myself. He is my worst self realized.” (p. 18)
“Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm. ‘Deep inside, you know you’re him.’” (p. 143, “Fifty-Five works I swear by”)
Larry David’s mother: “You’re not funny, Larry. I’ve never heard you say anything funny.”
“I learned a long time ago that the people whom you most want to love your work…won’t.” (p. 134)
Things that happened to me on the plane ride while reading the galley of How Literature Changed My Life: my pen exploded all over my hand, I forgot to stir the dressing for my caesar salad, the stewardess refused to take my empty salad box because she didn’t have a trash bag, and my 6-foot ashtray of a seatmate fell asleep on my arm at least half a dozen times.
“All criticism is a form of autobiography.” (p. 3)
One of Shields’ “proudest literary accomplishments of middle age” is that “‘good’ and ‘bad’ reviews no longer affect me much.” (p. 159)


Note: I put Reality Hunger on the reading list in the back of Steal Like An Artist. You should read it. ↩

David Shields, How Literature Saved My Life1

  1. Stephen Colbert: “You say you’re not bound by 19th century conventions, right? So why are you bound to the 19th century convention of [a] book? Why didn’t you just put this on a website, or xerox it, or pass it out on street corners wearing a trash bag for a dress?”
  2. “[U]n- or even anti-literary types haven’t stopped reading. They just don’t get as excited about the book form. The blog form: immediacy, relative lack of scrim between writer and reader, promised delivery of unmediated reality.” (p. 167)
  3. David Shields’ blog is a list of links to reviews of his book.
  4. He is better at Twitter: @_DavidShields
  5. NYTimes: “When you read David Shields, the first thing you learn is that he takes literature very seriously. The second thing you learn is how seriously he takes his taking seriously of literature.”
  6. “[Ray Kurzweil] seems to me the saddest person on the planet. I emphasize with him completely.” (p. 86)
  7. “Every quality I despise in George Bush is a quality I despise in myself. He is my worst self realized.” (p. 18)
  8. “Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm. ‘Deep inside, you know you’re him.’” (p. 143, “Fifty-Five works I swear by”)
  9. Larry David’s mother: “You’re not funny, Larry. I’ve never heard you say anything funny.”
  10. “I learned a long time ago that the people whom you most want to love your work…won’t.” (p. 134)
  11. Things that happened to me on the plane ride while reading the galley of How Literature Changed My Life: my pen exploded all over my hand, I forgot to stir the dressing for my caesar salad, the stewardess refused to take my empty salad box because she didn’t have a trash bag, and my 6-foot ashtray of a seatmate fell asleep on my arm at least half a dozen times.
  12. “All criticism is a form of autobiography.” (p. 3)
  13. One of Shields’ “proudest literary accomplishments of middle age” is that “‘good’ and ‘bad’ reviews no longer affect me much.” (p. 159)

  1. Note: I put Reality Hunger on the reading list in the back of Steal Like An Artist. You should read it. 

Apr 08, 2012
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Originally, feathers evolved to retain heat; later, they were repurposed for a means of flight. No one ever accuses the descendants of ancient birds of plagiarism for taking heat-retaining feathers and modifying them into wings for flight. In our current system, the original feathers would be copyrighted, and upstart birds would get sued for stealing the feathers for a different use. Almost all famous discoveries (by Edison, Darwin, Einstein, et al.) were not lightning-bolt epiphanies but were built slowly over time and heavily dependent on the intellectual superstructure of what had come before them…. There’s no such thing as originality. Invention and innovation grow out of rich networks of people and ideas. All life on earth (and by extension, technology) is built upon appropriation and reuse of the preexisting.

Jan 07, 2012
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I am quite content to go down to posterity as a scissors and paste man.
— James Joyce, quoted in Reality Hunger

Aug 12, 2011
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Apr 21, 2010
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Apr 15, 2010
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You say you’re not bound by 19th century conventions, right? Why are you bound by the 19th century convention of ‘book’?

Mar 22, 2010
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Mar 18, 2010
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Old and new make the warp and woof of every moment. There is no thread that is not a twist of these two strands. By necessity, by proclivity and by delight, we all quote. It is as difficult to appropriate the thoughts of others as it is to invent.
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