Contented Reader

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Life Itself

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Life Itself

Roger Ebert

Grand Central Publishing



I guess I’m like a lot of people.  I knew who Roger Ebert was- the fat guy on “Siskel and Ebert”- but I didn’t think much about him.  At some point I heard he’d had surgery that didn’t go well, and I felt that vague sense of ‘sorry that bad thing happened to a stranger’ that a person feels when bad things are announced on the news happening to half-forgotten sort-of celebrities that aren’t actively loathsome.

I didn’t really become aware of him, as a writer whose opinions I actually cared about, until I followed a link to his blog, and discovered what is probably the best-written blog on the internet.  I was already a fan of his when he mentioned that he doesn’t talk at all, and then I went back and figured out the story of the thyroid cancer, the three failed surgeries, the close brush with death, the facial disfigurement, the loss of eating and drinking and speaking.

Roger Ebert is someone whose writing and thinking I respect.  I take movies seriously because he taught me how and why to do so.  I like the way he reflects, deeply, on his experiences, turning every situation into an opportunity to understand life’s mysteries in a new way.  I like his calm, relaxed humor.

Now that Ebert doesn’t speak, he lives an internet life that is lively and fascinating.  Subscribe to his blog, his Facebook feed, his Twitter feed, and you’ll find yourself learning about a wide range of unexpected things.  He cares about movies passionately, but he is fascinated by a wide range of things and can write interestingly about all of them.  Cooking, travel, books, science, religion, philosophy, politics, and all of it.  His philosophy of kindness appeals to me.

I assume that in reality he isn’t quite the kind, literate philosopher of life that he presents himself as in writing.  He must sometimes speak stupidly, get discouraged, get angry.  That’s okay.  The Ebert I have is the written Ebert.

Oh, I forgot to write about his memoir, which I just finished reading.  It’s very good.


Written by Contented Reader

October 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Reviews


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