Shields and Salerno illuminate most brightly the last 56 years of Salinger’s life: a period that, until now, had remained completely dark to biographers. Provided unprecedented access to diaries, letters, legal records, and secret documents, listeners will feel they have, for the first time, gotten beyond Salinger’s meticulously built-up wall. The result is the definitive portrait of one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century.
"Good biographical details marred by over analysis"
Blending confessional criticism and anthropological autobiography, Shields explores the power of literature (from Blaise Pascal's Penses to Maggie Nelson's Bluets, Renata Adler's Speedboat to Proust's A Remembrance of Things Past) to make life survivable, maybe even endurable. Shields evokes his deeply divided personality (his "ridiculous" ambivalence), his character flaws, his woes, his serious despairs.
A debate, nearly to the death, about life and art, cocktails included. And a soon-to-be major motion picture from James Franco! Caleb Powell always wanted to become an artist, but he overcommitted to life (he's a stay-at-home dad to three young girls), whereas his former professor David Shields always wanted to become a human being, but he has overcommitted to art.
"Good Pseudo-Intellectual Chore Soundtrack"
Mesmerized, at times unnerved, by his 97-year-old father's nearly superhuman vitality and optimism, David Shields undertakes an investigation of the human physical condition. The result is this exhilarating book - both a personal meditation on mortality and an exploration of flesh-and-blood existence from crib to oblivion. It's an exploration that paradoxically prompts a renewed and profound appreciation of life.
"Too much of the author's uninteresting story"
Actress and voiceover artist Samantha Matthews offers - in the form of an extended monologue, prompted and arranged by New York Times best-selling author (and Matthews' cousin once removed) David Shields - a vivid investigation of her startling sexual history.
In October 2011, Jeff Ragsdale, a down-and-out actor and stand-up comedian, posted a flyer around Lower Manhattan asking people to call him if they wanted to talk. He thought he’d get a dozen calls; instead he got hundreds, and then thousands, once pictures of the flyer went viral on the net. The calls came from all over the country and from as far away as Spain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Taiwan, and Australia. Jeff spoke to as many people as he could, answering his phone all day long.
Reality Hunger is a manifesto for a burgeoning group of interrelated but unconnected artists who, living in an unbearably artificial world, are breaking ever larger chunks of 'reality' into their work. The questions Shields explores - the bending of form and genre, the lure and blur of the real - play out constantly around us, and Reality Hungeris a radical reframing of how we might think about this 'truthiness'.
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books began in 1996 with a simple goal: to bring together the people who create books with the people who love to read them. The festival was an immediate success and has become the largest and most prestigious book festival in the country, attracting more than 130,000 book lovers each year.
Mesmerized and somewhat unnerved by his 97-year-old father's vitality and optimism, David Shields undertakes an original investigation of our flesh-and-blood existence, our mortal being. Weaving together personal anecdote, biological fact, philosophical doubt, cultural criticism, and the wisdom of an eclectic range of writers and thinkers - from Lucretius to Woody Allen - Shields expertly renders both a hilarious family portrait and a truly resonant meditation on mortality.