How Literature Saved My Life

How Literature Saved My Life

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Blending confessional criticism and cultural autobiography, David Shields explores the power of literature to make life survivable, maybe even endurable. Evoking his deeply divided personality, his character flaws, his woes, his serious despair, he wants "literature to assuage human loneliness, but nothing can assuage human loneliness. Literature doesn't lie about this--which is what makes it essential." This is a captivating, thought-provoking, utterly original book about the essential acts of reading and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 207 pages
  • 132 x 202 x 20mm | 260g
  • Vintage Books
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0345802721
  • 9780345802729
  • 851,329

About Professor David Shields

David Shields is the author of thirteen previous books, including "Reality Hunger" (named one of the best books of 2010 by more than thirty publications), "The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead" ("New York Times" bestseller), "Black Planet" (National Book Critics Circle Award finalist), and "Remote "(winner of the PEN/Revson Award). He has published essays and stories in numerous periodicals, including "The New York Times Magazine," "Harper's," "Yale Review," "The Village Voice," "Salon," "Slate," "McSweeney's," and "The Believer." His work has been translated into fifteen more

Review quote

"Here is a mind on fire, a writer at war with the page. . . . These rigorous, high-octane, exhaustive yet taut ruminations on ambivalence, love, melancholy, and mortality are like an arrow laced with crack to the brain. [Shields'] gun-to-the-head prose explicates an all-consuming passion for reading, writing, and 'the redemptive grace of human consciousness itself."--"O Magazine" "In this wonderful, vastly entertaining book, he weaves together literary criticism, quotations, and his own fragmentary recollections to illustrate, in form and content, how art--real art, the kind that engages and reflects the world around it--has made his life meaningful as both creator and beholder. Shields is an elegant, charming, and very funny writer. . . . Although his subject is himself, his instructions should prove useful--inspiring even--to all readers and writers."--"The Boston Globe" "Shields is a stunning writer. Within this book lies significant passion and revelation. . . . What makes for an amazing reading experience is the piecing together an argument from the fragments. . . . The guy is a maestro." --"The Huffington Post" "Shields has an uncanny ability to tap into the short attention span of modern culture and turn it into something positive. . . . "How Literature Saved My Life" presents a way forward for literature in new forms."--"The A.V. Club" "Eminently readable and surprisingly life-affirming. . . . Mr. Shields has written a great book, and one which matters. . . . Uncompromisingly intelligent, blisteringly forthright, and eschewing convention at every turn. . . . Mr. Shields is one engaging writer. His enthusiasm is contagious. He cares, deeply, about his subject."--"New York Journal of Books" "There is no more interesting writer at this precise moment than David Shields. I would call three of his books among the most important we've seen in the last 15 years: "The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead," "Realityyshow more