How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth)

Henry Alford, Author . Twelve $23.99 (262p) ISBN 978-0-446-19603-1

Alford (Big Kiss ) recognizes that the elderly have been through more in their lives than the rest of us, and figures it might be a good idea to talk to some of them and see if they have any meaningful advice to impart. This plan sets off a prolonged meditation: what is wisdom, anyway? Some of his interview subjects are famous, like playwright Edward Albee or literary critic Harold Bloom—but it's the less recognized figures who consistently provide Alford with the most evocative source material, like the retired schoolteacher who lost her husband, her home and all her possessions in Hurricane Katrina but refuses to feel sorry for herself. The search is not all rosy: shortly after , Alford's interview with his stepfather, he loses his sobriety and the author becomes a sideline observer as his mother initiates divorce proceedings and moves into a retirement home. Such scenarios depart from the laugh-out-loud stories for which Alford is best known, but there are still enough moments of rich humor, like the guided tour of Sylvia Miles's cluttered apartment, for longtime fans of Alford. (Jan. 2)

Reviewed on: 09/29/2008
Release date: 01/01/2009
Paperback - 269 pages - 978-0-446-19604-8
Open Ebook - 978-0-446-54440-5
Open Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-446-59494-3
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