How Literature Saved My Life, David Shields, 2013

Shields grew up as a shy and stuttering child with a fault finding father, escaped to Brown University, and began a prolific writing career.  He is death-obsessed (The Thing About Life is that One Day You’ll be Dead is an earlier book) and devotes an entire chapter to “Isn’t everyone’s project on some level to offer tentative theses regarding what if anything, we are doing here.  Against death, in other words, what solace, what consolation, what bulwark?”  He cites Ice T, Burt Reynolds, and Samuel Beckett (“I read Dante, watch soccer, and fart”), and DFW as helpful resources and his essay, ’55 Books that I Swear By” is excellent.  A new best friend.