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Monday, 10 January 2011

This is Water


No one other than David Foster Wallace could get away with employing a grocery shopping expedition example in a commencement speech. And in This Is Water he does it without being reductionist or condescending or a host of other smarmy adjectives. Ditto for the phrase "tiny skull-sized kingdoms".


This is Water: some thoughts, delivered on a significant occasion, about living a compassionate life is a tiny book in several ways and a huge book in others. Each page has only a few sentences which forces you, as a reader, to pause and consider each paragraph's impact, the way a speech might. Each page measures only 6.5 inches tall. Nonetheless, this book would make an excellent gift for the DFW fan in your life. It would also make an excellent gift for the high school, university, college, culinary school, or other graduate in your life. It might even be a good gift for you. The power of Wallace's writing is in full force here.


His compassionate, keen observational skills invite us to engage the world thoughtfully, considerately, and above all critically.

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