Teach Us to Sit Still
A Skeptic's Search for Health and Healing
By Tim Parks
(Rodale Books, Hardcover, 9781609611583, 336pp.)
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
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Teach Us to Sit Still is the visceral, thought-provoking, and inexplicably entertaining story of how Tim Parks found himself in serious pain, how doctors failed to help, and the quest he took to find his own way out. Overwhelmed by a crippling condition which nobody could explain or relieve, Parks follows a fruitless
journey through the conventional medical system only to find relief in the most unexpected place: a
breathing exercise that eventually leads him to take up meditation. This was the very last place Parks
anticipated finding answers; he was about as far from New Age as you can get.
As everything that he once held true is called into question, Parks confronts the relationship between
his mind and body, the hectic modern world that seems to demand all our focus, and his chosen life as
an intellectual and writer. He is drawn to consider the effects of illness on the work of other writers, the role of religion in shaping our sense of self, and the influence of sports and art on our attitudes toward health and well-being. Most of us will fall ill at some point; few will describe that journey with the same verve, insight, and radiant intelligence as Tim Parks. Captivating and inspiring, Teach Us to Sit Still is an intensely personal—and brutally honest—story for our times.
TIM PARKS is the author of novels, nonfiction, and essays. He has won the Somerset Maugham, Betty Trask, and Llewellyn Rhys awards and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His works include Destiny, Europa, Dreams of Rivers and Seas, Italian Neighbors, An Italian Education, and A Season with Verona.
“A small triumph of narrative artistry, luxuriantly written and full of bone-dry humor.” The Spectator “A searingly honest, viscerally vivid, darkly comic self-examination of the connections between writing, personality and health.” David Lodge “A mystery story written with extraordinary nerve and eloquence...The result is harrowing, mordant, and unforgettable.” David Shields