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Every Third Thought: On Life, Death and the Endgame

av Robert McCrum

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
292649,490 (3.67)1
"In 1995, at the age of forty two, Robert McCrum suffered a dramatic and near-fatal stroke, the subject of his acclaimed memoir My Year Off. Ever since that life-changing event, McCrum has lived in the shadow of death, unavoidably aware of his own mortality. And now, twenty-one years on, he is noticing a change: his friends are joining him there. Death has become his contemporaries' every third thought. The question is no longer 'who am I?' but 'how long have I got?' and 'what happens next?' With the words of McCrum's favourite authors as travel companions, Every Third Thought, takes us on a journey through a year and towards death itself. As he acknowledges his own and his friends' ageing, McCrum confronts an existential question: in a world where we have learnt to live well at all costs, can we make peace with what Freud calls 'the necessity of dying'? Searching for answers leads him to others for advice and wisdom, and Every Third Thought is populated by the voices of brain surgeons, psychologists, cancer patients, hospice workers, writers and poets. Witty, lucid and provocative, Every Third Thought is an enthralling exploration of what it means to approach the 'end game', and begin to recognize, perhaps reluctantly, that we are not immortal. Deeply personal and yet always universal, this is a book for anyone who finds themselves preoccupied by matters of life and death. It is both guide and companion."--Publisher's description.… (mer)
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This edition probably shouldn't be on here; it specifically says it's "as read on BBC's Radio 4 Book of the Week", which is not actually a book. However, that is precisely the version I experienced, so I'll put my review here.

"We're all going to die. Alone. Deal with it." There you have it, a summation of this book. One never knows, with these abridged versions, whether the abridger did any damage in their efforts. This book is getting rave reviews, and the full description mentions "the voices of brain surgeons, psychologists, cancer patients, hospice workers, writers and poets." I don't remember it like that. Yes, there were a lot of quotes, but that was one of the issues I had. Basically, it was just one long stream of thoughts on death---or perhaps better said the same thought on death expressed different ways---with no direction or cohesion. It didn't have an obvious beginning and ending. The quotes and observations seemed to be sprinkled in here and there, but randomly; they could have been anywhere and been just as effective. Or ineffective. They didn't relate other than to also be about death. I found the whole thing tedious and depressing. There was no silver lining, no hopeful message. Because, after all, yes, we are all going to die, alone.

I think the reader might have also had a hand in my low rating. There were times when I sensed there might have been a funny... "Was that humor?" But Nicky Henson's delivery fell with a thud, so I was never quite sure. The book description mentions wit, so I'm guessing that another reader might have been able to have a better go at it. Regardless, I've read other pieces that dealt with death in a much lighter and more uplifting manner, so perhaps this is just one for the pessimists. ( )
  Lit_Cat | Dec 9, 2017 |
A fascinating insight into the last thing we experience on earth. ( )
  MarianneHusbands | Nov 9, 2017 |
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Ever since I fell dramatically ill one night in July 1995, I have found myself in the shadow of death.
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"In 1995, at the age of forty two, Robert McCrum suffered a dramatic and near-fatal stroke, the subject of his acclaimed memoir My Year Off. Ever since that life-changing event, McCrum has lived in the shadow of death, unavoidably aware of his own mortality. And now, twenty-one years on, he is noticing a change: his friends are joining him there. Death has become his contemporaries' every third thought. The question is no longer 'who am I?' but 'how long have I got?' and 'what happens next?' With the words of McCrum's favourite authors as travel companions, Every Third Thought, takes us on a journey through a year and towards death itself. As he acknowledges his own and his friends' ageing, McCrum confronts an existential question: in a world where we have learnt to live well at all costs, can we make peace with what Freud calls 'the necessity of dying'? Searching for answers leads him to others for advice and wisdom, and Every Third Thought is populated by the voices of brain surgeons, psychologists, cancer patients, hospice workers, writers and poets. Witty, lucid and provocative, Every Third Thought is an enthralling exploration of what it means to approach the 'end game', and begin to recognize, perhaps reluctantly, that we are not immortal. Deeply personal and yet always universal, this is a book for anyone who finds themselves preoccupied by matters of life and death. It is both guide and companion."--Publisher's description.

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