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Before You Die

Before You Die, it seems, has been springing up in bookstores all over the place. “1001 Movies to See Before You Die” – double-faced in Performing Arts. “1001 Places to See Before You Die” – yields a tepid trudge to Travel. And every genre, it seems, has its own Arabian Nights-inspired thing to do before the hooded hangman calls: “1001 Foods to Eat Before You Die” “1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die” “1001 Books to Read Before You Die.” It’s worth noting that with all this talk of death, the titles continue to fly and booksellers can scarcely keep up. Maybe that’s due to the fact that you’re never, ever told exactly how you’ll die, for it’s unlikely you’ll see: “1001 Dances to Learn Before You Develop Cancer” or

“1001 Liqueurs to Drink Before You Get Hit by a Train” OR

“1001 Puzzles to Solve Before You Get Shot in the Head.” Perhaps we prefer that Death keep its own swell of incense, its own black curtain, its own cryptic crossword, one not deciphered by reader or writer alike. But why that extra one after one thousand? That little bonus, as a P.S. or encore – to make amends for the penultimate trip or film? Where you’re much too anxious about your impending expiry to enjoy that stroll in Oahu ... too perturbed about your nearing demise to laugh through A Day at the Races ... and only Banks’ allusion to The Sweet Hereafter will make that final book even tolerable.




Andreas Gripp



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