Alive, Alive Oh!: And Other Things That Matter

Alive Alive Oh And Other Things That Matter What will you remember if you live to be Diana Athill charmed readers with her prize winning memoir Somewhere Towards the End which transformed her into an unexpected literary star Now on the ev

  • Title: Alive, Alive Oh!: And Other Things That Matter
  • Author: Diana Athill
  • ISBN: 9780393353563
  • Page: 401
  • Format: Paperback
  • What will you remember if you live to be 100 Diana Athill charmed readers with her prize winning memoir Somewhere Towards the End, which transformed her into an unexpected literary star Now, on the eve of her ninety eighth birthday, Athill has written a sequel every bit as unsentimental, candid, and beguiling as her most beloved work.Writing from her cozy room in HighgateWhat will you remember if you live to be 100 Diana Athill charmed readers with her prize winning memoir Somewhere Towards the End, which transformed her into an unexpected literary star Now, on the eve of her ninety eighth birthday, Athill has written a sequel every bit as unsentimental, candid, and beguiling as her most beloved work.Writing from her cozy room in Highgate, London, Diana begins to reflect on the things that matter after a lifetime of remarkable experiences, and the memories that have risen to the surface and sustain her in her very old age My two valuable lessons are avoid romanticism and abhor possessiveness, she writes In warm, engaging prose she describes the bucolic pleasures of her grandmother s garden and the wonders of traveling as a young woman in Europe after the end of the Second World War As her vivid, textured memories range across the decades, she relates with unflinching candor her harrowing experience as an expectant mother in her forties and crafts unforgettable portraits of friends, writers, and lovers.A pure joy to read, Alive, Alive Oh sparkles with wise and often very funny reflections on the condition of being old Athill reminds us of the joy and richness of every stage of life and what it means to live life fully, without regrets.

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    1 thought on “Alive, Alive Oh!: And Other Things That Matter”

    1. Athill is nearly a 100 years old, she's sharp, funny and as she says of making friends in old age, you make friends not on what you are doing, or on what you might do together, but on stories. And here she shares stories of her life. And life now for her in an old-age home, which she loves. No more housework or grocery shopping and lots of friends!The saddest story in the book if of the miscarriage when she was 43 of her only child. It is quite harrowing to read as she nearly died, but the endin [...]

    2. Please, please let me be like this wonderful woman when I am 98. Let me remember things with the descriptive qualities and clarity as she does. Her grandmother's garden described beautifully, post war conditions and trips she took. Expecting her first child, feelings about being pregnant and so much more all described in incredible details. Amazing, so please, please.

    3. Update: Last night I was lucky enough to see 98-year-old literary legend Diana Athill live in London. Here’s my blog write-up of the event. (Psssssst! I have the dirt on a forthcoming publication – and here I thought this would be her last book for sure.)Apart from “Dead Right,” this collection is not primarily concerned with imminent death. Athill is still grateful to be alive, marvelling at a lifetime of good luck and health and taking joy in gardening, clothing, books, memories and fr [...]

    4. Excellent! IF I make it to the age of 98, this lady is my role model. She lived life by her own rules, made the decision to go into a retirement home at 93 so as not to be a burden to friends and relatives, and still lives the way she chooses, limited only by her body. Still writing, still sharp, no regrets.

    5. This my third Diana Athill book - all of them written when she was over eighty - in fact she was ninety-six when she wrote this one. And what a joyous, invigorating, sharp and enchanting read it is It consists of a series of essays on different aspects and periods of her life. She is such an original and sassy human being, and she shines a brilliant light on all sorts of different things, in a way that must surely resonate with everyone. I wish I was drinking champagne rather than coffee - she s [...]

    6. BOTWbbc/programmes/b06r4byzDescription: Stephanie Cole reads from the new collection of essays by acclaimed writer Diana Athill, which is being published to mark the author's 98th birthday later on this month.Written from the vantage point of her late nineties, Athill's essays are wise, cheering and thought-provoking. They range from gentle (her love of beautiful clothes), heartbreaking (the miscarriage of a much-wanted child) to salutary (her difficult decision to relinquish her independence an [...]

    7. This was a thoroughly enjoyable book of memoir essays written by literary giant Diana Athill. Athill is now 98 years old and lives in a retirement home in Highgate, London. The essays covered a surprising variety of topics, everything from her childhood memories, post-war Britain, colonialism, miscarriage and abortion, and of course, aging and death.I wasn't sure what to expect of it when I picked it up. It came recommended to me, but I'd never read any of Athill's books before. I am, however, a [...]

    8. From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:Stephanie Cole reads from the new collection of essays by acclaimed writer Diana Athill, which is being published to mark the author's 98th birthday later on this month.Written from the vantage point of her late nineties, Athill's essays are wise, cheering and thought-provoking. They range from gentle (her love of beautiful clothes), heartbreaking (the miscarriage of a much-wanted child) to salutary (her difficult decision to relinquish her independence and mo [...]

    9. I like to wander through the library, just to see what's on the shelves. Yesterday, I had the good luck to find a book by Diana Athill, so I nabbed it. Always worth reading, she's such a good writer. I read this all in one sitting, because it's brief, but more because she's so good you don't want to stop. Don't miss the poem at the very end, and even the acknowledgements page is a pleasure worth your time. In fact, you might turn to that page first, to get a sense of how the book came to be in y [...]

    10. Diana Athill was born in 1917. This means, she is at least (I don't know her actual birthday) 98 years old. And she is still writing books!!! Not just okay-ish books, but excellent ones, filled with warmth and wisdom and a directness of tone that makes me sit up and listen, no matter what she is talking about. 'Alive, Alive Oh!' is the latest product from this remarkable woman, an addition to the archive of wonderful memoirs that began with 'Stet', written after an acclaimed career as an editor [...]

    11. What did I think of the book? It was ok, this the two star rating. The first chapter started out quite slow, with a detailed remembrance of her familial home, where every building was located and exactly which kind of tree grew by which building At this point I was really glad this was a slim book and yet dreaded what remained. Luckily the interest factor ticked up in the following chapters. I can't say I agree with the authors choice of using abortion as a birth control, or with her willingness [...]

    12. Three and a half stars. It wasn't an easy read. Diana Athill covers some very brave, but often unpalatable subjects in this one. One describes in great detail a miscarriage she suffered in her 40s of a much wanted child. She nearly died of a massive haemorrhage. Another chapter discusses when it was the right time for her to give up independent living and move to a care home, albeit a very smart and lovely one in North London peopled by equally like minded residents. I didn't enjoy the chapter a [...]

    13. Diana Athill is best known now for her memoirs and short stories, though she began her career in publishing. Working as an editor with Andre Deutsch – one of the founders of the company, through a fifty-year career she worked with some of the biggest names in literature. Her book Stet – which I received recently, is the memoir about that work, and the people she met and worked with. I am looking forward to reading that.“My two valuable lessons are: avoid romanticism and abhor possessivenes [...]

    14. As I get older I find myself thinking more and more about the short time we have and about whether or not I'm using my time wisely. When considering these questions I believe it is immensely useful to learn from those who are farther down the road. Seven years ago I read Athill's first memoir, Somewhere Towards the End , written when she was 91 and focused on how things like her sex drive, her reading habits, etc. had changed as she aged. Now at the age of 98, Athill has given us this book of es [...]

    15. I loved this book. The writer, Diana Athill, is 99 years old, and she writes like a thirty year old---that kind of clarity and beauty and spark. Her subjects aren't always young people's subjects, but oh, I'd love to visit her and discover her secrets. How does she know how to nail racism and classism as she describes a trip as a tourist to Trinidad and Tobago? Who in her class and generation understood this? Over and over I was dazzled by her brilliance as a writer and a human being. She writes [...]

    16. It's not often you have the opportunity to read a book written by a 97 year-old. I am old enough, even at just 67, to understand the author's comment that although there are increasing limitations on a physical level as one gets older, there are new pleasures that balance them. One is memories -- there are so many memories, and the time and perspective to string them together into one's own story. I wish I knew Diana Athill, I think she must be a fascinating person to talk to. There is no 'plot' [...]

    17. Alive, Alive, Oh! is a collection of memories that matter most to Athill as she draws nearer to her 100th birthday. I was drawn to this after reading a review which mentioned Athill's thoughts on moving herself into a retirement/care home. It was a point of view I'd never considered before, that such a move can be a positive one for everybody concerned. Many chapters surprised me in the same way she seemed to have always been ahead of her time. Some stories really made stop and think about my ow [...]

    18. My fastest read in ages and thats because its so good. A collection of essays, meaning you can never get fed up of any subject.Varied and full of life, from childhood, lovers, war, death, pregnancy and a like. Diana has lead a true and womderful life and has a great storytelling way of phrasing her essays. I have fallen in love with her and her look on life. Diana I salute you!

    19. Listened to on Radio 4 as the Book at Bedtime choice. Stephanie Cole reads the collection of essays by Diana Athill. We follow Diana's life, the ups and downs and life changing events that define her and we hear her opinion on a range of subjects including the War and liberation. So wonderfully descriptive you don't have to be a fan of her work to enjoy this thought provoking memoir.

    20. An absolutely wonderful memoir; as I head into my 6th decade I can only hope to reach my 9th with the same optimistic, and realistic perspective as Athill. So glad I read a short review of this book and got it from the library, was not familiar with Athill, plan to read her other memoirs.

    21. I have enjoyed all of Diana Athill's books and hope she will publish her correspondence with Jean Rhys. This book is more of a hodge-podge than the others, but if you're still writing lively, honest prose at age 100, who cares?

    22. This is my first Diana Athill - who seems to have lived a life I want for myself, independent and free - and now I want to read everything she's written.

    23. Memories matter more than you think, including our small, simple pleasures. So, pay close attention to what you like/love. That's what I learned from Diana.

    24. 2015Half of the pieces in this very short book were published earlier, which is fine.She chose her retirement home well; few such good ones exist, is my guess! but good for her! Her description of her choice, her life there and other residents is helpful.I especially valued her insights in the chapter on Trinidad and Tobago, where she expresses better than I have seen elsewhere that discomfort which I have not been able to see clearly or find words for myself, the gap between first-world travele [...]

    25. A delightful, almost exceptional, collection of memoirs/essays by this intriguing woman.Intriguing, because she has become famous for growing old gracefully and remarkably. She has just turned 100 and is still writing. She spent much of her working life as an Editor, so it's no great surprise that she has such facility with language. And Editors, of course, don't get the fame that some,at least, of their charges, do.Quite shocking in places - makes me realise that sexual intercourse was invented [...]

    26. I adored this book. Short, but I stretched it out so that I could spend as much time as possible with the delicious writing, so British, but in the warmest way possible. I heard about this book because it was on NPR's list of best books of 2016 and I'm so glad I did. The author is 100 and looking back at special moments from her life Some are sweet, some are harrowing, but all are lovely and reveal hidden depths, whether about her grandparents' garden, a miscarriage, or the revolution in Tobago. [...]

    27. I expect a lot of people will reference the warmth, life experience and wisdom of the author - which are all true. But what I loved about the short essays which make up this book is the liveliness, optimism, memories and practical strength. I particularly loved reading the colourful description and recollection of her grandparents' estate, gentle education of her mother into aspects of her life, and the collective planting of a rose garden in her retirement village.

    28. There is no question that Diana Athill is an exceptional writer for somebody in their late 90's. But I couldn't really relate to her and skipped over a lot. The one chapter I did find of interest was about her thoughts on going into an old people's home. Otherwise I thought it was a bit boring for somebody who has lived through so many interesting times and is obviously still very mentally "with it".

    29. Diana Athill is looking back on her life at age 98. The memoirs are fascinating and well written in rather glossy language. The book is fun to read and I came out with huge admiration for someone who has lead a full life, and continues to adopt a positive attitude and intelligent interest in the world she finds herself in.

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