Losing It

Losing It

In Which An Aging Professor Laments His Shrinking Brain, Which He Flatters Himself Formerly Did Him Noble Service

Book - 2011
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Yale University
From the author of The Anatomy of Disgust, a wickedly funny, effortlessly erudite essay on the horrors of old age, past and present

In Losing It, William Ian Miller brings his inimitable wit and learning to the subject of growing old:too old to matter, of either rightly losing your confidence or wrongly maintaining it, culpably refusing to face the fact that you are losing it. The “it” in Miller’s “losing it” refers mainly to mental faculties—memory, processing speed, sensory acuity, the capacity to focus. But it includes other evidence as well—sags and flaccidities, aches and pains, failing joints and organs. What are we to make of these tell-tale signs? Does growing old gracefully mean more than simply refusing unseemly cosmetic surgeries? How do we face decline and the final drawing of the blinds? Will we know if and when we have lingered too long?

Drawing on a lifetime of deep study and anxious observation, Miller enlists the wisdom of the ancients to confront these vexed questions head on. Debunking the glossy new image of old age that has accompanied the graying of the Baby Boomers, he conjures a lost world of aging rituals—complaints, taking to bed, resentments of one’s heirs, schemes for taking it with you or settling up accounts and scores—to remind us of the ongoing dilemmas of old age. Darkly intelligent and sublimely written, this exhilarating and eccentric book will raise the spirits of readers, young and old.



Baker & Taylor
A thoughtful and humorous look at the horrors of old age enlists the wisdom of the ancients to explore the myriad ways to be in decline, the fear of losing mental faculties, and the inevitable advent of sags, aches, pains, and failing joints and organs.

Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, c2011
Description: viii, 328 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
ISBN: 9780300171013
0300171013
Branch Call Number: 305.26092 Mil

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JudithE
Nov 30, 2013

As someone dealing with a fading brain due to aging, I was at first quite engaged by this book. I ended up not liking it much, and I bowed out half-way through. At first I liked the honesty and wit the author brings about how things go south, and his demonstrations that people have suffered these indignities back to the beginnings of recorded writings. But then the negativity got to me and my interest faded. Also, it is full of literary allusions, and doesn't have enough, for my taste, about the author's own struggles, and, especially, solutions, to this problem.

ser_library Aug 15, 2012

full of literary allusions, and without illusions of losing it

b
bbb1771
Mar 23, 2012

Painfully self congratulatory in its excessive literary illusions and ancient references.

If you hung on every word that kooky English Lit prof said during every lecture at university, this book might amuse and delight you.

Otherwise, expect the same reaction you had in that English lit class: confusion, followed by boredom, followed by an unavoidable questioning "why am I letting this person waste my time?"

dgeezer Jan 06, 2012

Wise and witty; why this has
not been on everyone's best
book of the year puzzles me.

Can't wait to read his other
"Faking It."

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