Brown Bag Lunch: Other People, with David Shields & Claire Dederer


Welcome back Seattle writer David Shields, who will join us for a brown bag lunch to discuss his new collection of essays, Other People: Takes and Mistakes. Bainbridge Island author Claire Dederer will join us for a conversation with Shields in our Used Book Annex on Thursday, April 20, at noon.

His latest book is an intellectually thrilling and emotionally wrenching investigation of otherness: the need for one person to understand another person completely, the impossibility of any such absolute knowing, and the erotics of this separation. 

Can one person know another person? How do we live through other people? Is it possible to fill the gap between people? If not, can art fill that gap? Grappling with these questions, David Shields gives us a book that is something of a revelation: seventy-plus essays, written over the last thirty-five years, reconceived and recombined to form neither a miscellany nor a memoir but a sustained meditation on otherness.

The book is divided into five sections: Men, Women, Athletes, Performers, Alter Egos. Whether he is writing about sexual desire or information sickness, George W. Bush or Kurt Cobain, women's eyeglasses or Greek tragedy, Howard Cosell or Bill Murray, the comedy of high school journalism or the agony of first love, Shields's sustained, piercing focus is on the multiplicity of perspectives informing any situation, on the irreducible log jam of human information, and on the possibilities, and impossibilities, for human connection.

"Other People has it all: the confusions of the body; the capers of the mind; a vast democratic cast of deeply American characters; and of course the improvised self, sifting and searching, on a quest to make sense of it all when it can. This artful collage (tender, witty, warm, intelligent, available, vulnerable) is David Shields at his brilliant best. A beautiful book." -- Charles D Ambrosio 

Bring your sandwich or salad, we'll provide snacks and cider! And be prepared for a scintillating discussion!


David Shields is the internationally best-selling author of 20 books, including The Thing About Life, Reality Hunger, Black Planet, Remote, and War Is Beautiful. He and his wife live in Seattle, where he is the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington. His work has been translated into twenty languages.

Event date: 
Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Event address: 

Other People: Takes & Mistakes Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385351997
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - February 21st, 2017

How Literature Saved My Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345802729
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - November 5th, 2013