Read Enough about You: Adventures in Autobiography by David Shields Online


"Enough About You" is a book about David Shields. But it is also a terrifically engrossing exploration and exploitation of self-reflection, self-absorption, full-blown narcissism, and the impulse to write about oneself. In a world awash with memoirs and tell-alls, Shields has created something unique: he invites the reader into his mind as he turns his life into a narrativ"Enough About You" is a book about David Shields. But it is also a terrifically engrossing exploration and exploitation of self-reflection, self-absorption, full-blown narcissism, and the impulse to write about oneself. In a world awash with memoirs and tell-alls, Shields has created something unique: he invites the reader into his mind as he turns his life into a narrative. With moving and often hilarious candor, Shields ruminates on a variety of subjects, all while exploring the impulse to confess, to use oneself as an autobiographical subject, to make one's life into a work of art.Shields explores the connections between fiction and nonfiction, stuttering and writing, literary forms and literary contents, art and life; he confronts bad reviews of his earlier books; he examines why he read a college girlfriend's journal; he raids a wide range of cultural figures (from Rousseau, Nabokov, and Salinger to Bill Murray, Adam Sandler, and Bobby Knight) for what they have to tell him about himself; he quotes a speech he wrote on the occasion of his father's ninetieth birthday and then gives us the guilt-induced dream he had when he failed to deliver the speech; he also writes about basketball and sexuality and Los Angeles and Seattle, but he is always meditating on the origins of his interest in autobiography, on the limits and appeals of autobiography, on the traps and strategies of it, and finally, how to use it to get to the world.The result is a collection of poetically charged self-reflections that reveal deep truths about ourselves as well....

Title : Enough about You: Adventures in Autobiography
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780743225786
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Enough about You: Adventures in Autobiography Reviews

  • M. Sarki
    2019-04-29 19:50

    Of the three David Shields books I have, like the wind, swiftly read thus far, this without a doubt is my favorite, though the word "favorite" would not describe how I really feel. I am not a fan of Shields and I am basically reading him to find out what all the fuss is about. I am still not sure. It makes really no sense to me when there are so many other great writers available to us to read instead of this guy. It seems to me his work is basically a looped highlight reel featuring David Shields which wouldn't be bad if he were actually somebody like a Gordon Lish or Raymond Carver, or anyone I suppose I would be interested in learning more details, true or false, about their lives. I have found Shields to be not very interesting. And it is not as if I haven't tried. I don't read a writer's work in order to not like it and say something bad about it. That would be crazy. I always want to love what I am reading and I am elated when I find these people who can actually produce it and I am eager to sing their praises.I have written extensively in my reviews about how important it is to find a writer interesting, or to like him or her enough to want to learn more about them. In the case of biographies and memoirs there are many writers who never put anything of themselves into their work, and I tend not to like that much, no matter who the subject is. I like writers to make things personal. Autobiographical is nice, but not necessary. And even if I do not like the writer I can still like the work. One example would be Norman Mailer. I find some of his work extremely interesting but I have nothing, in general, but contempt for the guy. Geoff Dyer is another writer I really do not like personally but find much of what he writes interesting and worth reading. I keep looking for something to like in David Shields but so far have failed in all my activities. He comes off to me as somebody who assumes he is interesting and therefore should be anointed as such. Or it is possible, but unlikely, that he is cut from the same grain as a D.H. Lawrence or Geoff Dyer and doesn't much care if you read him or not. Not unlike many others who have written reviews of this particular book, Enough About You: Adventures in Autobiography, I found repetitions galore as if Shields cut and pasted sections taken from all his nonfiction works. But again, that is where the looped highlight reel comment comes in. It is possible he is acting the part of a politician throwing canned lines and talking points out there enough times to make sure something sticks to our walls, or he is worried we may only read one of his books so he better get everything important (at least to him) in each of them. But his highlight reel is all about his so-called glory days of dead-eye hoop shooting from way outside, his sex life or lack of one, his stuttering, his ninety-something energizer bunny dad, and a bad case of psoriasis. (And for the record, I also never knew a third grade girl who wore underarm deodorant, especially back then in the early sixties. I do not doubt Shields as a kid was rubbing up on her, smelling her mixed-up-sweat while shooting hoops and playing H-O-R-S-E, but the deodorant claim is a bit of a stretch for me.) And none of these highlights in his life are all that interesting, and in addition to not being interesting, nothing in them added a speck to me learning anything of note. But he does write well, and is easy to read for speed. But cutting and pasting stories from old books into new ones does not impress a reader like me unless the writer admits to doing so. If not for the Bill Murray piece titled The Only Solution to the Soul Is the Senses, which can be found near the end, this book would be considered a bigger flop for me than all the others. The fact that I am reading these different books sort of backwards perhaps isn't fair, as at the time of the writing of this book he hadn't had the extensive opportunities yet to keep repeating himself as he has proven to do in subsequent measures as the years have gone by.In the Bill Murray essay Shields compares himself too favorably with his hero and says"...all of my current aesthetic excitements derive from my boredom with the conventions of fiction and my hope that nonfiction (autobiography, confession, memoir, embarrassment, whatever) can perhaps produce something that is for me truer, more real." I agree with this quote and concur with its importance. But it isn't as if other writers haven't already been operating this way for years. It isn't a novel idea. There is little doubt that many works of fiction hold many truths, and autobiography plays an enormous role in their composition. Just off the top of my hat I can list Gordon Lish, Raymond Carver, and D.H. Lawrence as three writers who revealed through fiction their secret truths. Lives led in shame, guilt, lust, theft, and adultery all playing major roles in their writing and resulting in me and many others, finding substantial interest in them personally. There is little in the life of Shields that I find interesting. One horrid example is his leering and lust for women that strikes me as really creepy and not at all something I want to know any more about, let alone have it repeated and detailed to me in every book. In fact, I wish I didn't know what I did. I wish he could take it back. But my real problem is with Shields' repetitive pattern. It is as if he is always telling the stupid pretentious story again for the very first time. It is as if each successive book of Shields' is a new, and always better, catalog of his greatest hits. The sorry fact for me is that the songs just aren't that great. It is like the 60's band Chicago regularly reissuing new albums of all their old songs. In other words, his work is a bore, and exactly what he was not about achieving in his switch to writing nonfiction after first publishing a string of novels I will never read. But of course, that is my take on his current nonfiction output to date. Shields obviously thinks he is interesting, as do others, (and too many of them), that his words matter, and that he somehow rises to an importance somewhere above his own inflated idea of himself. Which is frankly, impossible.

  • Bobbi Lurie
    2019-05-02 01:44

    I thought I reviewed this book already but it must have been erased. This will be a weaker review than the first but the book, for me, was weak so perhaps it is appropriate that the review was erased and I'm almost too tired to write--earlier I had energy for a more energetic review about a book I didn't like.What I wrote basically was that the first rule in writing an autobiography IMHO is you should first of all make sure you have an interesting enough life to write about. David Shield didn't / doesn't. I only lasted until pg. 78. Reading about an elitist education and what a writer learned from bad reviews and a move to Seattle basically put me to sleep.I still want to read David Shields' book "Dead Languages" because it's about stuttering. He stutters and I stutter. A lot of writers stutter but I never have heard of a book strictly about stuttering. (Of course there is The World According to Garp and Billy Budd etc. so maybe I shouldn't get too excited--also there was a stutterer in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (he said this in his book just in case you think I am some erudite know it all--which I'm not--but I am curious to read about a book about the correlation between finding it hard to speak and therefore being obsessed with words, becoming a writer etc. though I doubt that David Shields and I will turn out to be soul mates even if we share a similar malady.I learned about David Shields through a manifesto he wrote about writing fiction in a new way. He had a lot of interesting things to say in the essay (I can't repeat any of it because I no longer have the article) but when I browsed through this book which outlines his propositions in a bookstore, I was bored with that book as well though I admit to merely skimming through it and moving on to something similarly uninteresting.I really hope to like Dead Languages when I get around to reading it.But these "notes toward the new autobiography"--well, forget it. And "Enough About You" sort of says it all.

  • Dr X
    2019-04-27 21:31

    This is a scattershot collection of snippets, some truly autobiographical but many others musings on topics that have presumed autobiographical relevance to the author. Like many of the other reviewers, I had trouble making myself care much about many of these essays. This is not to say there are not memorable moments. For example, the tableau of him, in a brown room, tossing his girlfriend's salad as she licks dropping chocolate off of her clothes and hands is unfortunately an image that will remain with me for some time. For the most part, however, this book was like the mental prisons many of us inhabit, echo chambers of disconnected, negative self-thoughts. We may be stuck with our own such thoughts, but we don't need to inhabit others'.

  • Rory
    2019-05-23 00:23

    This book was all, like, vignette-y and, kinda, like, literary criticism-y. I felt smarter having read it--but is that praise?

  • Tyler
    2019-04-21 18:49

    This book is basically some dude's blog.

  • Brandi Amara Skyy
    2019-05-20 02:29

    2.5 starsi read this book in one sitting -- like in the span of a few hours -- and i'm not sure how i feel about it. i liked it. But i also didn't like it. i didn't hate it and maybe that's the thing; it didn't rile me up in anyway. There are few a exceptions. Rebecca's Journal, The Same Air, Remoteness, Are You Who I Think I Am are essays that made me feel . . . something. And unlike most other books i have read, i liked the middle of this one way more than i did the beginning or the end. i think the problem is, i like the subjects and the way Shields writes about them, but i don't necessarily like the way he thinks. Privileged. Heteronormative. Masculine infused. Did i already mention privileged? Which is why his essay Downward, which weaves in commentary on Black NBA players, feels not only contrived but also a bit racist. Sentences like, "The NBA traffics, almost exclusively, in African-American bodies, and from the time the first slave ship pulled into the harbor, African-American bodies have been big sellers." feels different on the skin of a POC reader than they do on his own. Especially (insert italics) after Shields sarcastically recounts in the same essay that he "was dragged into the city for civil rights and anti-war marches what seems in memory every third weekend." It reads as dismissive rather than an eye-opening experience for Shields that would allow him to write said essay with an ounce cultural sensitivity. Is Sheild's then not doing the very same thing he calls the NBA (among others) for doing, using black bodies and experiences to boost their own brand? The essay Using Myself feels more like a diatribe of defensiveness then something that has been fully digested and understood enough to come to some profound revelation (the goal of any writer revisiting their memories -- or reading their bad reviews).i picked up this book because i'm writing a memoir on fame and i've been searching for books that directly or indirectly touch on the subject. This book came up. i had never heard of it or the author but it fit the description of what i was looking for so i read it. Would i read it again? No. But are there pieces of it that i will return to? Yes. So in that arena Shields' book wins.

  • Kressel Housman
    2019-05-07 01:44

    David Shields is a creative writing professor in Seattle, and I first became aware of him when he was promoting his more recent book, Reality Hunger. I was immediately intrigued by him because here was an actual writing professor who declared that both as a writer and a reader, he was bored by novels, and the only thing that interested him was memoir, which is about “how one human being solves the problems of being a human being.” A novel, he said, is just something that someone made up, so he had much less patience for it. I agreed, so I got hold of his book.As it turned out, Reality Hunger was not just a defense of non-fiction over fiction, but a book in collage form, as opposed to the usual narrative structure of a novel or memoir. He made some good points, but the style didn’t thrill me. Still, I was curious enough to try this book, one of his older ones, in the hope that this would be the one that contained the secret to the art of memoir writing. Surprise, surprise, it didn’t. At the beginning, Shields argues that by delving deep into personal experience, the writer ends up simultaneously discovering himself and connecting with the readers. Perhaps that’s not an original insight, though he phrased it originally, “By giving you me, I’ll give you you.” I suppose he did, but not in the direct way I was expecting. Perhaps I need to take one of his writing classes to get what I’m looking for.Like Reality Hunger, the book is definitely not a straight-line narrative. The beginning reads like a collection of essays, but the middle is a collage, a style I’m still not wild about, though it worked brilliantly in the chapter called, “Are You Who I Think I Am?” The chapter called “Remote,“ which is about Seattle’s unlikely success, was my second favorite, and I’m looking forward to his book of the same title, but that’s more about celebrity culture than Seattle. The theme of celebrity culture seems to be one that fascinates him, and in addition to insights about the influence of Hollywood throughout the book, he includes one chapter on Adam Sandler and his Jewish identity, always an interesting theme to me personally, and a praiseful one on Bill Murray, which was interesting at first, but went on way too long. Worst of all were the chapters about his girlfriend, which included one image that’s so disgusting I wish I could erase it from my mind. So 3 stars for this book. Parts of it are great, parts of it are dull, and parts of it are downright gross. And yet for all that, I haven’t quite given up on David Shields yet. I guess for me, the good parts of what he has to say so far outweigh the bad. I hope I won’t regret it.

  • Mark
    2019-05-08 20:30

    It was a mistake to read this first, probably. When you want to listen to the Rolling Stones for the first time in your life, you don't put Goats Head Soup or, god forbid, Steel Wheels on your turntable first, you listen to Sticky Fingers or Let It Bleed. If you've never read Shakespeare before, you don't start with Measure for Measure or Cymbeline, you start with Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet.Likewise, my first experience with David Shields probably should've been Reality Hunger, which is the book of his that brought him to my attention. But I don't have a copy of that book, I have a copy of Enough About You, and I needed something light to read in an airport, so that's how I first read David Shields.Enough About You is an odd collection, which I expected (based on what I've read about Reality Hunger), but I did not expect it to be quite as disjointed as its subtitle suggests ("Notes Toward the New Autobiography"--italics mine). The longest chapter in the book (at 26 pages), the penultimate one, is a meditation on Bill Murray's career and, to some extent, his life offscreen. Shields talks a bit about himself in this chapter, but only peripherally. So I'm not sure how this chapter, which reads like something out of Premiere magazine, fits into a book about autobiography. Nonetheless, this book did give me a feeling for Shields's style and his philosophy regarding fiction and nonfiction. So perhaps it was an OK place to start after all. His manner is charming enough, and I don't mind a nonfiction book that rambles. I can see how other readers might be less patient with it, however. It reminds me of a collection of a blogger's best posts, chosen loosely on the subject of self, or something like that. Which is not a compliment, I realize. But that's how casual it reads. In any case, I did enjoy it, and it helped me travel from Philadelphia to Miami quite blissfully, so I'm thankful for that.

  • Kent Winward
    2019-05-02 20:27

    Shield's philosophy and books truly speak to me. I'm fascinated by the intersection of fiction and reality. Maybe because I'm married to a writer, J.A. Carter-Winward, and she has written her own genre defying books, No Apologies and No Secrets, loosely called poetry, but that fall more into the autobiographical shorts that Shields employs in this book as characterized by the William Gass quote employed by Shields:"I know of nothing more difficult than knowing who you are, and having the courage to share the reasons for the catastrophe of your character with the world." Out of the short bursts, Shields (or is it the reader?) creates a narrative out of the snippets. The short sections also allow for a verisimilitude that is not available in longer fiction or stories. Our brains love to fill in the gaps. I'm convinced that Shields is on to something in the art we create and its need to leave space for the gaps as evidenced by Shield's favorite idea: "Language is all we have to connect us, and it doesn't, not quite."

  • Jonathan Hiskes
    2019-05-07 00:24

    "I'm just trying to be honest here: the only portraits I'm really interested are self-portraits." Shields writes a book about writing about himself, in an attempt to show how all writing is about nothing more than language itself. He attempts a postmodern pastiche of recollections and scattered thoughts, but they don't build into anything greater than their parts. He casts offhand critiques of lame conventional novelists like Steinbeck, but never fully explains why time-worn conventions like symbolism and character development don't appeal to him. Maybe those old techniques have some power after all.

  • Richard Gilbert
    2019-04-23 20:46

    A postmodern, searching, nonlinear, appealing inquiry into the self. I really liked it in other words and added it to my favorite memoirs page of my blog. I guess I want to read it again, though, because I am not sure it quite coheres. For instance, the essay on Bill Murray is brilliant but I started to wonder if Shields had smooshed a lot of previously published stuff together, common enough and fair game, but it can make the whole feel less whole. The fractured narrative in general and of this book in particular is part of his point, of course, about the reality of our lives vs. the way they are presented in traditional narratives.

  • Steve
    2019-05-22 18:31

    I have been reading Shields since his first novel ("Heroes" - a basketball novel set in Iowa City) and I really liked his occasional pieces collection "Remote" (about fame and media). But this just seems like a bunch of articles and pieces and notes from the creative writing course he teaches at the U of WA thrown together between a couple of covers. The longest piece is his redundant, scatter shot musings on Bill Murray. Only saving grace is the volume of short pieces is pretty short itself. Skip it.

  • Susanna
    2019-05-02 02:43

    Speed-read part of this in June, finished reading it this week. Really interesting structurally. Shields is exploring autobiography as a way for the writer to relate to the audience, as a way for the writer-me to correlate and conspire with the reader-you, as one person to bleed into another. Each section begins with an essay about what he's talking about, often addressing forms of literature, and then melds into autobiographical essays that convey his point.

  • sisterimapoet
    2019-05-06 01:45

    I really like the way Shields approaches this book - that it is teaching us techniques while showing us what he's made of. The way he writes essays about the things he likes, and in turn shows us a lot about himself and how we might begin to unpack ourselves in the same way. I liked the way he showed different ways of approaching autobiographical writing. Some straightforward, some quite unusual. His tone didn't warm me that much, he's a bit too witty and whiny but still a worthwhile read.

  • Rhonda Hughes
    2019-04-26 21:34

    I began reading this book at 11PM and ended up reading until 3AM even though it was a work night. David Shields' exploration of self and memoir as a form is fascinating . One of the most courageous pieces is "Rebecca's Journal" a story about secretly reading his college girlfriend's journal. More later.

  • Jessica
    2019-05-18 19:44

    Five-sixths of the way through this book, I misread the word "illuminating" as "humiliating." The fact that I almost didn't catch this confusion pretty much sums up how the book made me feel, or rather, how enjoying this book made me feel (and I did enjoy it). And now, I need a confessional booth, preferably one that hasn't already been used by Shields (if there is such a thing).

  • Wyma
    2019-04-23 20:23

    I wouldn't pass it up because it is different from any other memoir I have read and is provacative at times. He begins with interest and along the way gets bogged down in academic views of self, narrator, memoir, identity. A little of this could have gone a long way. Three quarters of the way through I said to Mr. Shields, "Enough about you!" and returned him to the library.

  • David Jones
    2019-05-17 18:22

    Some of the essays were hit or miss. I guess that is one of the author's points on the essay. The Bill Murray essay was spot on; I enjoyed reading the attempt of characterizing or summarizing what's intriguing about the actor/person, Bill Murray.

  • Mark Bennett
    2019-05-16 18:49

    I expected more after reading Shield's "Reality Hunger," but it still held sway. Shields can write, if for nothing else worth reading just for his chapter on Bill Murray, "The Only Solution to the Soul is the Senses."Pushing ahead, having to prove who you are.

  • Tina Schumann
    2019-05-06 00:50

    I really enjoyed Shields’ last book "The Thing About Life is That One Day You'll be Dead." He is a self-admitted Narcissist of the highest order. Shields’ is always funny, self-effacing and insightful. I can only admire people who just admit that it really is all about them.

  • Tara
    2019-04-22 19:42

    A collection of lightweight, entertaining essays about writing (and reading) about oneself. Starts off stronger than it finishes.

  • Josephine Ensign
    2019-05-15 21:52

    I quickly tired of Shields' self-deprecatory ping-pong structured banter in this book.

  • Allison
    2019-04-30 18:50

    David Shields' reading suggestion list for you.