Heavy Reserve Alert — ‘How to Live’

Reviews have been piling up for How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People by New Yorker contributor, Henry Alford. Publishers Weekly even jumped the gun and named it a “Best Book” of 2008, although it’s technically an ’09 book (pubbed Jan 2).

Probably all you need is the title and that clever cover to know this could be a hit. But if the title leads you to expect the usual clichés, Time magazine counters,

With its self-helpish title, How To Live might easily be mistaken for a book full of aphorisms and life lessons — a Chicken Soup for the Non-Elderly Soul. Thankfully, Alford is smarter than that, and his book is impressively understated in its desire to actually impart wisdom.

Consistent throughout the reviews (conveniently rounded up on the author’s Web site) is a comment you might not expect — the book’s profiles of older people are often “hilarious.”

Check your holds. One large midwest library currently shows 133 holds on 4 copies.

Alford’s upcoming appearances include LAPL ‘s “Aloud” series and “Live from NYPL” with Paul Holdengraber.


How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People 
Alford, Henry 

  • Hardcover: $23.99; 272 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve (January 2, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0446196037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446196031

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