Item description for Two Guys Read the Obituaries by Terrence N. Hill...
This is the book that tells us why piano players outlive drummers; who the last living flying monkey from the film "The Wizard of Oz" was; and reveals where we go after we die. It also may just be the funniest book ever written about death.
Each of the two authors combed the obituary pages every day for a calendar year. They wrote about the Reaper's usual harvest---the famous, the infamous, and the fascinating. As in Two Guys Read Moby-Dick, their first joint project, they refused to be corralled by format and wound up writing about . . . well, basically whatever their minds bumped into. The collision is always interesting and often irreverent. These two professional writers, who have been friends since childhood, took up the challenge to be the first two people ever to read Moby-Dick from cover to cover. The result was the critically-acclaimed, popular book: Two Guys Read Moby-Dick. Now comes the sequel---the alarmingly funny and profound: Two Guys Read the Obituaries.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 6" Height: 0.7" Weight: 0.65 lbs.
Release Date Sep 30, 2006
Publisher Robert D. Reed Publishers
ISBN 1931741794 ISBN13 9781931741798
Reviews - What do customers think about Two Guys Read the Obituaries?
Study of death and life Mar 2, 2008
Reviewed by LuAnn Morgan for Rebeccas Reads (3/08)
This book, "Two Guys Read the Obituaries," is a memoir of sorts. Steve Chandler and Terrence N. Hill take on the task of looking at life through the study of obituaries. The authors selected certain well-read newspapers and perused them each day in order to examine the lives of those who recently died. They were especially interested in those with a particular appeal personally to themselves, such as sports figures, actors, writers and people around their own ages.
Nearly every journalist starts their career with the obituary section. They soon learn that, indeed, there are messages to be found within the few words that summarize a person's life. Here is a book that explains what can be discovered as the reader considers the death of someone they may or may not know.
Hill and Chandler are professional writers and friends from childhood. Hill is a playwright, advertising copywriter and creative director. Chandler is the author of twelve books dealing with personal growth and business success.
Their first book together was "Two Guys Read Moby-Dick," as they claimed to be the only two people who read the entire book and shared their feelings with the reader. They put into words whatever came to their minds.
Continuing in that same style, they read the obituary pages for one year, putting their thoughts and impressions in writing. Along the way, they began to discover certain consistencies. They found that piano players tend to outlive drummers and where we go after we die.
The result of their research is a laugh-out-loud book that charms and amuses the reader, while at the same time, makes you think about the topic yourself. And this book will forever change the way you read obituaries.
I found "Two Guys Read the Obituaries" witty and fun to read. It's a nice break from a hectic day when one wants to sit back and relax without having to delve into more serious subjects. Can Chandler and Hill continue to enchant readers with another "Two Guys" book? I certainly hope so.
Lots of Humor Dec 17, 2006
Reviewed by Susan Pettrone for Reader Views (11/06)
As I grow older I have found myself like many others in this world, scanning the obituaries each morning as matter of routine. Sometimes it is out of pure idle boredom and sometimes depending upon my physical aches and pains, to see if perhaps I am listed there along with others who have for one reason or other `met their maker.'
And so it is for Steve Chandler and Terrence N. Hill, authors of the book "Two Men Read the Obituaries." The premise is simply that of two men, corresponding back and forth while discussing death in one shape or form within their missives.
From writings centered upon the death at 92 of Thurl Ravencroft, the voice of `Tony the tiger' whom the author informs us made a living out of one simple word "grreeeaaattt!," to the serious obituary news concerning the death of Peter Jennings, these two authors cover the gamut of pure curiosity over the average age of those who appeared in the obits on any given day, to the musings of sports scores not appearing in the morning papers when games ran long. Their dry wit, introspective writings at times bordering upon meandering thought and simple discussions of family and friends make for reading that is quite simply a peek into two old friends catching up on each others lives. With one simple difference of course, that being the subject of the day is always that of death.
Death in the eyes of these two authors is not always a somber subject, I might add. Especially when their humor comes into play touching upon death as only they can do when Steve writes to Terrence stating after a particularly thoughtful introspective regarding death and EKG brain waves, "And Phil and Don die each time they hear the sound, `here he comes that's Cathy's clown.'" It's moments such as this, that their light humor keeps the book from bogging down from the sheer depressive nature that the subject of death might have afforded. And it is this self same humor sprinkled throughout this book that keeps the reader engaged in the writings within its pages.
Of course not all the book is light and filled with simple discussions on those who have died on any given day. There are amusingly educational moments as well. One that particularly caught my interest was Steve's communication of 2-20-05 when he touches upon the subject of the sisters of Notre Dame apparently living approximately 20 years longer than the average age for women. He mentions that perhaps the secret of these nuns long life span was simply because they were active mentally longer than their peers. To this insight Terrence, as only he can, responds, "Seems to me the story of the sisters of Notre Dame is not about active brains, but constitutes rather the long awaited indisputable proof for the existence of God. He cares! And gives those who kowtow to him additional decades of life." It is this edgy wit and moments of "gallows humor" so to speak, that give this book the lift that it needs in order not to get bogged down with the seriousness death might afford
Though I must admit I never thought upon first opening this book that I would be eagerly turning the pages with delight. I mean, death is a subject most of us avoid like the plague. But I must confess that after reading this book, I now look at death and obituaries in less of a somber light than before. The authors address the subject with respect, keen insight and even educational moments, but always keep on track in one way or another with their subject.
Though "Two Guys Read the Obituaries" is not one that would appeal to every reader given it's subject matter, it is one that would be the type of book I'd recommend for that individual on your list that has a slightly skewed view of life and a different way of viewing death and all it entails. It is the type of book you give to a friend who, like me, finds reading the daily obits to be a daily occurrence and who is pleased when the day begins without their name being among those listed.
The Guys Hit It Out of the Ballpark Again Nov 3, 2006
The two guys are back and better than ever! I actually found this book more personally relatable than TGRMD because death, more than Moby Dick, is something we must all deal with. This was an especially good read for me because it actually made me stop and think about death in a quiet, contemplative way, not with the abject discomfort and mental shut down I usually devote to the topic. And, on top of that, the book is just plain hilarious. These guys are very funny and in many parts of the book I found myself laughing out loud at their silly, unique senses of the absurd. I also like the inclusion of two very different voices - Terry, the intellectual, perpetual lateral thinker and comedian, Steve, down-to-earth, the philosopher on a quest for the meaning of both life and death. Their combined voices provide a discourse that pulls the reader in and makes you question your own feelings on the topic. And, any book that makes me think about death with grace, thoughtfulness and humor is top-notch to me! Read it, you'll love it.
Pleasant diversion, but few riveting insights... Oct 18, 2006
I liked this better than the first reviewer, but not as much as the next two critics. I was unfamiliar with the work and lives of either of the authors, but I am the same age, and so share many similar memories. I also have an e-mail partner with whom I often exchange views on life, love, death, disappointment, politics and social mores, so I can relate to their friendship, although I've never met my friend face-to-face, and Steve and Terry have known each other most of their 60+ years of life.
The trouble is, no two guys, even bright and successful ones like these two, are brilliant enough to dazzle us via largely unedited e-mails over a year's worth of obituary reading. Most of the deaths they comment upon, of course, were covered in major newspapers, meaning the deceased was either rich, famous, or remarkable in some positive or negative way. It would not be fair to criticize them for liking Hunter Thompson, I think. I never liked him, but the authors have a right to their personal opinions.
My main criticism of the book is that because the two friends grew up together near Detroit, their viewpoints are not all that diverse. One man traveled the world as an ad agency exec, the other recovered from alcoholism and became a successful writer of self-help and life-coaching books. There is a bit too much Michigan in here, a bit too much of the memories of baseball in the '50's and 60's. I related to their earlier lives, being of the same generation, but how interesting can this effort be to those under 50 who perhaps hated baseball?
My suggestion for their next effort: Get your wives involved. I assume they are younger, did not grow up in Detroit, and are of a different gender, which is like a whole new universe in terms of values and viewpoints. Call the next two books "Two Couples Read Romance Novels" and "Two Couples Watch Television." Go heavier on the humor, and lighter on the philosophy. Steve and Terry are, clearly, nice guys with good minds. However, as is made plain in this publication, sometimes the most interesting writers are guys with nasty personalities and dirty minds, like...Hunter S. Thompson, for instance.
I loved it - absolutely loved it! Oct 10, 2006
I read the "guys" first book 2grmd and also enjoyed that one, but 2grto is one I couldn't put down. Funny, enlightening, inspiring, thought-provoking. I've not read another book that has compelled me to really contemplate death - without morbidity, rather, with a sense of reality (hey - it eventually happens to us all)and acceptance. I am a lot like Terry in the sense that I also tend to overanalyze an issue or question (I'm a lawyer, too) and so laughed my pretty-little-butt off regarding the "17, 21, 35 what comes next in the sequence" question posed by Steve, because I too, started to find the conclusion using logic and mathematics - and then I too, kicked myself when I found out the answer as that was one of my favorite tunes back in 19-aught-65 (Frank Sinatra version) when I thought 35 was really old. You'll love this book - please guys, do another, and another - I haven't finished reading a book so quickly and with so much to think about afterwords. You guys are terrific - I envy the fact that you're both on the same intelligence plane and have been friends for 50+ years, can see into each other's heads, so you can do something as innovative as this. It's a kind of memoir (seems to be the most popular writing style these days) but more like a running letter back and forth without the self-consciousness of someone outside learning your inner thoughts. Again, loved it, loved it. Do it again, boys - Please.