Thursday, October 18, 2007

What is Michael Largo reading?

The latest contributor to Writers Read: Michael Largo, the author of three novels, the Bram Stoker Award-winning Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die, and the recently-released The Portable Obituary: How the Famous, Rich, and Powerful Really Died.

His entry opens:
I think I read a fortune cookie once that said, "You are what you read." I don't know how true that is, since my lucky numbers on the flip-side proved losers to date. But the spirit of it is good, and I always have more books to get to than time.

The next book I am currently writing has to do with creative people who committed suicide, so I've been starting the morning reading poetry, some Anne Sexton, John Berryman, Paul Celan and a few others. [read on]
About The Portable Obituary, from the publisher:
Here at last is the definitive source book on the true causes of death of public figures –– providing the ultimate demise of heroes and icons, politicians and celebrities, inventors and explorers, business leaders and sports figures, as well as the unlikely endings of radicals, murderers, feminists, Nobel Prize winners, and others. Organized thematically, The Portable Obituary examines revealing details about how famous persons' deeds, intimate habits, and lifestyles –– good and bad –– ultimately influenced their mode of death and, in due course, determined their role in history and culture. Author Michael Largo makes clear that life, famous or not, can only be fully understood backwards. The true cause of death is often the one omitted detail of history, but in fact reveals the most poignant snapshot of an individual's life.

There is no other work that reviews the lives of the prominent, illustrious, and legendary from the cause of death vantage point, presenting unique, meaningful, and original thumbnail biographies. By using archeological records, published obituaries, techniques of forensic interpretation –– The Portable Obituary is a one–of–a–kind reference work.
About Final Exits, from the publisher:

To die, kick the bucket, to meet your Maker, dead as a doornail, get whacked, smoked, bite the dust, sleep with the fishes, go six feet under–whatever death is called, it's going to happen. In 1789 Ben Franklin wrote, "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." Death remains a certainty. But how do we die? It's the enormous variety of HOW that enlivens Final Exits.

According to death certificates, in 1700 there were less than 100 causes of death. Today there are 3,000. With each advance of technology, people find new ways to become deceased, often causing trends that peak in the first year. People are now killed by everything, from cell phones, washing machines, lawn mowers and toothpicks, to the boundless catalog of man–made medicines. In Final Exits the causes of death – bizarre or common – are alphabetically arranged and include actual accounts of people, both famous and ordinary, who unfortunately died that way. (Ants, bad words, Bingo, bean bag chairs, flying cows, frozen toilets, hiccups, lipstick, moray eels, road kill, starfish, and toupees are only some of the more unusual causes.)

Visit Michael Largo's website.

Writers Read: Michael Largo.

--Marshal Zeringue