Read Obit. Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People who Led Extraordinary Lives by Jim Sheeler Online


Most of the people in this book will die before the fifth paragraph. You probably haven't heard of any of them. That doesn't mean it's a book about nobodies. That doesn't mean it is a book about death. The obituaries collected here are at times humorous, ("The Woman Who Outlived Her Tombstone") and at times heartbreaking ("Love Stories from a Plane Crash"). They shine a liMost of the people in this book will die before the fifth paragraph. You probably haven't heard of any of them. That doesn't mean it's a book about nobodies. That doesn't mean it is a book about death. The obituaries collected here are at times humorous, ("The Woman Who Outlived Her Tombstone") and at times heartbreaking ("Love Stories from a Plane Crash"). They shine a light into forgotten places ("How to Build a Mountain") and forgotten lives ("TGhe shortest Obituary on the Page"). Inside are countless lessons of life, taught by people we all pass on the street every day. It's not too late to meet them....

Title : Obit. Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People who Led Extraordinary Lives
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780871089434
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 244 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Obit. Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People who Led Extraordinary Lives Reviews

  • Colin McKay Miller
    2019-02-06 17:04

    Jim Sheeler’s Obit is a short book full of short obituaries that is best taken in short stints. Oh, and the title is short, too.For a decade, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist visited people in Colorado, writing the obituaries of their loved ones passed. These are your everyday folks, and even if they didn’t live the ‘extraordinary lives’ the book cover promises, it’s fairly interesting to see the diverse things people can make important in life (faith, military, work and all the little hobbies along the way). Many died of terminal illnesses and old age, whereas very few met tragic ends. Maybe that’s the way it goes most often in life, but the first half of Obit comes with a homogeny that suggests it could have been shorter. Thankfully, the second half starts to break the pattern. There’s a suicide, a hidden addiction, and loss of cultural identity—darker issues the lighter first half of the book didn’t touch. Part of it is that Sheeler wanted the book to be inspiring, but death is an ugly, awful mess most of the time and since the stories were often told by friends and family, many of the darker issues (and lives) can’t be included with that kind of a process, leaving a void in what the 42 obituaries—most four to six pages long, none over 10—should have covered. Additionally, the book is very Colorado-centric (in a limiting way) and the reader’s enjoyment of the lives replayed will often depend on shared interests. Maybe it’s unfair to critique a book like this, being that it’s a series of remembrances and all, but it seems like Obit is one of those neat ideas that doesn’t quite work as a collection. With that said, I enjoyed over half of the obituaries included, eight of which stood out amongst that positive crowd. “After 624 Deaths, One More” is my pick of the collection as it tells of a nurse who worked in a hospice for most of her life until ending up at one herself, thereby giving a commentary on death as a whole. For all I could critique in Obit, by the end, I realized Jim Sheeler had attained exactly what he set out to do, showing that even the average person can teach you how to live. Three stars. Barely.

  • Chelsea
    2019-02-13 08:49

    About 50 pages in, I had already decided it was a five star book. It had already made me laugh, it had made me cry, and it had made me do both in public - that usually indicates a good book. And it was, 50 pages in.Then, at 200 pages in, I sat back thinking "another story about the woman who kept up the tradition of using an old fashioned printer?" Oh, but this one was different - she published a newspaper instead of her own little newsletter, like the woman earlier in the book. Sure.That was followed by the fourth or so story about the citizen of the dying Midwest town who became the unofficial historian, able to point out where the old gas station and former post office used to be. That was followed by the third story of the guy who loved his farm, by gum.The juvenile delinquent who went on to become a hero in Iraq, and the subsequent posthumous presentation of medals? I cried. The brilliant teenage boy who was developing his own personal philosophy? Cried there too, but that happy, satisfied cry, knowing that there are kids like that out there. The couple who spent all their time together (the second one in the book, to be exact), to the point where he couldn't bear to survive her? Heartbreaking. Plus all the happier ones that have kind of slipped my mind. They're good stories!But why are so many of them the same story?Check it out if you like the everyone has a story to tell/real people as heroes/finding the beauty in daily life. But jump around, and skip over the stories that don't catch you.

  • Kate Cotillo
    2019-01-20 15:49

    I didn't love this book but thought it was really interesting. It showed how ordinary people just like you and I came to do really insane and extraordinary things. I specially like the story where the man loved the mountains since he was young and ended up climbing a bunch of mountains and becoming a type of researcher or ecologist for certain mountains.

  • Michelle
    2019-02-15 12:46

    I picked this up because I thought it was a book full of actual obits, but found that the title is misleading and that is not what it is at all. That's ok because the book was about the inspiring stories of ordinary people who led extraordinary lives. This book is full of very wonderful and heartwarming stories of people ( Mainly from Colorado ) who led their lives giving to people. Just when you think all hope is lost and people don't give a damn about each other, pick up this book and start reading. Your faith will be restored. The stories in this book are about people from all walks of life, young and old who made an impact on others and still do after they have passed on. I highly recommed.

  • Amanda Ishtayeh
    2019-02-18 09:46

    I once saw in the Columbus Dispatch where a man had died. His family put in an obit AND his mistress. They both filled an entire column and it was amazing to me how different they described him. Both me were great but in different ways. LOL! I wanted this book to be along those lines but they were just about good people. Now that is not necessarily bad, but not what I was looking for.

  • Donna Nuce
    2019-01-23 12:45

    I like Jim Sheeler's writing style. He always made the obituaries in The Denver Post seem so heartwarming and real. This book just expands on some of the interesting people he met writing obituaries. The people are all from Colorado and since I live in Colorado it was very interesting to me.

  • Adela
    2019-02-05 16:09

    An interesting read, fairly well-written with short chapters to read as you find a spare moment. Overall okay, but not captivating or deeply meaningful.

  • Stephanie Koroll
    2019-02-17 13:01

    Interesting stories about various people. I enjoyed learning about the individuals in this book and Sheeler did a great job of relating their information in a thought provoking way.

  • Anna Silver
    2019-01-23 12:02

    I thought Obit by Jim Sheeler had an extremely interesting topic that it focused on: obituaries of people with seemingly ordinary lives. The concept, in my opinion, is quite brilliant and creative, somewhat reminiscent of today's Humans of New York blog. Some of the individual stories within the obituaries that Sheeler wrote were fascinating; however many of them lacked much interest to me because I couldn't get very invested in the individuals. I personally like to get attached to characters and people in books, so it was difficult for me to be content with only a few pages and minimal details about the person (though that is how obituaries generally are written). It's still a very interesting read.

  • Pierced Librarian
    2019-02-14 12:54

    I dig obituaries. When I was a kid my Pop and I would peruse the daily obits and 'tsk' at how young they were, or try to guess what some obscure sentence meant. I still read obituaries in the Sunday paper.Obit is a book of expanded obituaries. The author spoke to relatives and friends and created stories with more depth to them. My favorites were “A Lifetime Together, Four Days Apart” and “The Barflies Say Goodbye”. I have to admit that some of these stories were too trite to get a any real grasp on the personality of the deceased and often the stories meandered with no anchor, just an abrupt end. Overall, a lovely little book with a great premise and quite honestly, you will know how each story ends.

  • Amanda Thames
    2019-01-19 17:00

    I started reading this book when I first got the job as an obit writer. I read a couple here and there to get the creativity flowing and I thought it only fitting that I finish it now. It's weird, my thoughts on Sheeler's writing have changed so much over the past two years. At first I studied his writing for the craft and wanted to emulate his work because it was so great. Now, I find myself mentally editing for how I would change things, what I would take out or how I would do it differently. It is a great book, though, full of stories of real people, and I would recommend for anyone looking for uplifting stories.

  • Karelle
    2019-02-04 15:13

    I happen to come across this book by accident while I was looking for something else. What attracted me was the subtitle "Inspiring stories of ordinary people". I didn't give much thought about the title until I got the book home and then it occurred to me, Obit is short for Obituary. Did I really want to read a book of obituaries? I decided to give it a try and discovered that the book was filled with wonderful stories, each one describing what was special about a person. It's a good reminder that one shouldn't wait until someone is gone to think about what is really special about that person.

  • Lindsey
    2019-02-19 11:58

    I'm not usually one that goes for the touchy-feely kind of inspirational books and this could have easily turned into that.However, this book was such a touching portrait of other people's lives that I would recommend it to anyone. There were several times that I was reading right before I had to leave for work and I had to pull myself together because I was getting teary-eyed. And I often had to take a break because it got too intense.Another surprising touch - all the people were from Denver area, or CO in general. Seeing as I read the book when I had JUST moved to Denver was a nice surprise.

  • Kristin
    2019-02-15 11:51

    -The Colorado setting was sometimes boring. I feel like the book would be more interesting if the obituaries were from different states!-Most of the stories were about men(like 80% of the book). I think it should have been even- I wanted to read more stories about women!+My favorite story was 'A Lifetime Together; Death Four Days Apart'. It reminded me of The Notebook story, by Nicholas Sparks!+A touching and inspiring book. I'm glad my professor recommended it to me :)

  • Julie Ivens
    2019-01-20 11:57

    When I saw the title, I was hesitant, afraid this would be a depressing read. But once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. It's a fascinating look into the lives of 'everyday' people, a beautiful reminder that everyone has a story. This book makes you wish you knew these people, and it also makes you want to get to know the people around you better. I really enjoyed reading this book. Very well written!

  • Sarah
    2019-02-08 13:00

    This was a very quick read, though perhaps I shouldn't have read it at work (I teared up a few times). I really liked the idea for this - showing the lives of ordinary people who've passed away. I always thought being an obituary writer must be terrible, but Sheeler makes it seem amazing - you get to learn about the extraordinary tales of ordinary people. Very inspiring and touching.

  • Maddie Rawstron
    2019-01-23 17:12

    I thought this book was okay. In the beginning, I loved it, but by the end of the book, it seemed extremely repetitive, and I was very bored. At least six of the stories were about men who loved their farm. Some of them were very interesting, but I think this book is best read in pieces, not all at once, like I did, because I got sick of it quickly.

  • Anna Engel
    2019-01-26 09:58

    You know the result of every single chapter. And yet, I found myself saddened by every single chapter. The author describes the life of each person, who they loved, why they were unique, and where they came from.

  • Rachel
    2019-02-15 11:46

    I really love the concept of this book. there are many wonderful stories of well and fully-lived lives. I just wasn't crazy about the writing. It took you into the story, then changed time frames too rapidly. I need more warning before you do that to me. :)

  • Marcy Reiz
    2019-01-24 15:07

    Hearing the stories of the lives some of the people in this book had touched was refreshing, while sad at the same time because the story about them is their obituary. Many of the stories are sad, some are uplifting, and all around, I very much enjoyed this book.

  • Laura Baverman
    2019-02-09 13:45

    I heard this guy speak at a workshop on narrative writing and was in awe of his ability to tell the story of someone's life once that person has passed. The stories are so touching and inspiring. He definitely transforms the idea of an obituary.

  • Tim Timberly
    2019-02-05 12:10

    This collection of obituaries was overly sentimental. They were all long enough to stress the common good in the people but not long enough to actually learn about the individuals beyond that. This book used the literary equivalent of a Barbara Walters's soft focus.

  • Emily Von pfahl
    2019-02-13 15:47

    Extremely well written and touching. Yes, parts of it were very sad, but it was by no means depressing, and it certainly wasn't morbid. The essays were celebrations of life as well as memorials to the dead. We should all be so lucky as to have Jim Sheeler write our obituaries.

  • Jamie
    2019-01-25 17:10

    Inspiring for both writers and humans who have experienced loss. I use these as examples of the potential and impact of obits for my newswriting classes.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-27 14:48

    not in overdrive

  • Taylor W. Rushing
    2019-01-30 12:54

    passionate work from a passionate individual.

  • Johanna
    2019-02-07 11:03

    This will be my second book of obits. I like that the short format of each story allows me to pick it up and read for a short while and then have a story to think about.

  • Bart
    2019-02-09 13:01

    The book got a little long. I would have liked to have a few more interesting individuals discussed.

  • Beth
    2019-01-30 13:13

    There were some great stories in here! The book contains different obituaries of ordinary people. I want this man to write mine when I die!

  • 712 samg
    2019-02-18 15:49

    so far i think this is a very interesting book because it is like a book of obituaries and tells the stories of some very interesting people