Things the Grandchildren Should Know
The British cover to Things the Grandchildren Should Know is grey and the American edition is dark blue. The insignia reads:
|Author||Mark Oliver Everett|
|Cover artist||Duncan Spilling (art direction)
Estuary English (concept)
|Subject||Autobiography and memoir|
|January 10, 2008|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Pages||256 pp (first edition)|
Things the Grandchildren Should Know is an autobiographic book by Mark Oliver Everett who is the front man of the independent rock band Eels. Everett spent a year composing the book between the release of the retrospectives Meet The Eels: Essential Eels, Vol. 1 (1996–2006) and Useless Trinkets: B-Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities and Unreleased 1996–2006 and the composition of 2009's Hombre Lobo.
The book shares its title with the closing track from the Eels' 2005 album Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. In that song Everett takes on the persona of an elderly grandfather sharing the wisdom he has learned about life shortly before his death. The parallels between the song and the book are loose, as the real Everett is much younger than his song persona. He remarks in the final chapter the paradox of the book's title given that he has no children, let alone grandchildren. The story concludes that despite the hardships in life, the good more than compensates for the bad.
Unusually for a modern autobiography, it includes no photos of the author, either inside the book or on the cover (first edition); likewise, the cover refers to Everett by his full name, rather than by the better-known moniker E, and the front and back cover never refer to his status as the frontman of the Eels.
Things the Grandchildren Should Know received generally positive reviews from critics from the United States—such as Joel Stein of Time—as well as British press—including The Guardian and The Independent. Antonia Quirke, writing for The Times claims that Everett "[P]icks the right stories to tell. A rare skill in the writers of memoirs," and sums up the book as "a subtle, touching thing." Pete Townshend's cover blurb calls it "[O]ne of the best books ever written by a contemporary artist." Everett's hometown press considered it "intellectual, wry and unflinching as it conveys complex emotions with simple, graceful language." and "a heartbreaking story of staggering genius." The book also received reviews from music publications, such as Spin, who considered the author "a clear-eyed and emotionally affecting writer" and Q, who gave it four out of five stars.
After the initial British pressing, the book was released in the United States by Thomas Dunne Books and St. Martin's Press on October 14, 2008 (ISBN 978-0-312-38513-2). An audio edition of this book was released on cassette tape, CD-ROM, and Compact Disc by Blackstone Audio on November 30, 2008. It was also made available on the iTunes Store. Editions would go on to be published in Belgium, Denmark, Cyprus, France, Germany, Iceland, India, The Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Italy.
- "Eels "If you’re going to boo somebody, you better know who you’re booing, bitch."". Tiny Mix Tapes. May 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
- JohnDoe: Mark Oliver Everett: Glückstage in der Hölle, review (german language)
- "Eels: Official band website". Mark Oliver Everett. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
- Armitstead, Claire (2008-02-09). "Lives less ordinary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
- Murray, Charles Shaar (2008-01-25). "Things the Grandchildren Should Know, By Mark Oliver Everett". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
- Quirke, Antonia (2008-01-13). "Things the Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett". The Times. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
- Geoff Boucher (2008-10-19). "Mark Everett – E of Eels – unravels why his dad was so pained". L. A. Times. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
- Libby Molyneaux (2009-10-21). "You Thought Your Childhood Was Rotten". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
- "E's the Man". Spin via Yahoo! Music. 2008-11-03. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
- "Things the Grandchildren Should Know at the iTunes Store". iTunes Store. 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
- Eels' homepage on the book
- U.S. Publisher's book page
- Promotional video for Things the Grandchildren Should Know