101 Things Not to Do Before You Die

Robert W. Harris, Author
Robert W. Harris, Author St. Martin's Griffin $12.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-312-35758-0
Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-4299-8008-1
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Rather than put together a list of exciting things you'll never get around to doing, author Harris (When Good People Write Bad Sentences) presents a guide to navigating everyday choices that routinely lead either to ""gratification or frustration."" Beginning on a festive note, with ""Don't watch the colorized version of It's a Wonderful Life,"" this slim gift book sticks a toe in every area of life, offering simple, sensible advice ranging from obvious (""Don't lock yourself out"") to obscure (""Don't think of Paul Winchell as just a ventriloquist""-he's also ""the original patent owner for the artificial heart""). Though jokes abound (""Don't confuse Randy Quaid with Dennis Quaid""), Harris proves a keen observer of modern man's most useless pursuits, including ""Don't push an elevator button more than once,"" ""Don't read War and Peace,"" and, naturally, ""Don't make a list of 101 unusual things to do before you die."" Obviously, some of Harris's suggestions are based on his personal tastes (""Don't make tuna salad with mayonnaise"" suggests substituting Thousand Island dressing) and pet peeves (""Don't become a wine expert""), but the particularities of his list serve as great conversation starters, as much for what Harris includes as for what he misses.
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