Essays After Eighty

Essays After Eighty

Book - 2014
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From a former Poet Laureate, a new collection of essays delivering a gloriously unexpected view from the vantage point of very old age Donald Hall lived a remarkable life of letters, a career capped by a National Medal of the Arts, awarded by the president. Here, in the "unknown, unanticipated galaxy" of very old age, his essays startle, move, and delight. In the transgressive and horrifyingly funny "No Smoking," he looks back over his lifetime, and several of his ancestors' lifetimes, of smoking unfiltered cigarettes, packs of them every day. Hall paints his past: "Decades followed eachother -- thirty was terrifying, forty I never noticed because I was drunk, fifty was best with a total change of life, sixty extended the bliss of fifty . . ." And, poignantly, often joyfully, he limns his present: "When I turned eighty and rubbed testosterone on my chest, my beard roared like a lion and gained four inches." Most memorably, Hall writes about his enduring love affair with his ancestral Eagle Pond Farm and with the writing life that sustains him, every day:"Yesterday my first nap was at 9:30 a.m., but when I awoke I wrote again."
Publisher: Boston :, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,, [2014]
ISBN: 9780544287044
Branch Call Number: 814 HAL
Characteristics: 134 pages ; 22 cm


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Nov 23, 2016

My favorite book in a long while. Liked the stories of rural northeast America. Since reading this book I have picked up other books by Donald Hall. Liked the short story format.

Oct 10, 2016

Well written essays, honest but not pleasing for every taste. Some are self laudatory, others indicate the partial result of self abuse and then others are funny. The essays show a man who reached old age with lots of good and bad experience almost always someone at his side.
I liked the straightforward, honest style, e.g., mocking the euphemisms used for dying.

Feb 04, 2016

A writer's reflections from the vantage point of 80-plus years. Very witty and readable. Especially enjoyed his observations on exercise ("I did 4 minutes, sometimes even 5, before sagging into bottomless boredom"), critics ("Writers, of course, require praise."), and the importance of mindless pastimes ("Everyone who concentrates all day, in the evening needs to let the half-wit out for a walk.") Overall delightful!

Dec 23, 2015

I really liked these essays and read them all, me who doesn't have time to read all that much. Perhaps a more mature reader would relate more to the material, who knows.
You really get a sense of a live lived, a feeling for the person, and it is easy to relate to our own lives and experiences. At the end, you feel you spent time with a kindred soul.

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