As read on BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week
'Moving, intellectual and unsentimental. I think it will become a classic' Melvyn Bragg
'Thoughtful, subtle, elegantly clever and oddly joyous, Every Third Thought is beautiful' Kate Mosse
In 1995, at the age of forty-two, Robert McCrum suffered a dramatic and near-fatal stroke. Since that life-changing event, McCrum has lived in the shadow of death, unavoidably aware of his own mortality. And now, in his sixties, he is noticing a change: his friends are joining him there. Death has become his contemporaries' every third thought.
And so, with the words of McCrum's favourite authors as travel companions, Every Third Thought takes us on a journey towards death itself. This is a deeply personal book of reflection and conversation - with brain surgeons, psychologists, hospice workers and patients, writers and poets, and it confronts an existential question: in a world where we have learnt to live well at all costs, can we make peace with dying?
Robert McCrum was born and educated in Cambridge. For nearly twenty years he was editor-in-chief of the publishers Faber & Faber, until he suffered a severe stroke, the subject of his acclaimed memoir, My Year Off. From 1996 to 2009 he was literary editor of the Observer and associate editor until 2018. He is also the author of Wodehouse: A Life (2004); six novels; and the co-author of the international bestseller The Story of English (1986).