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In Joy Still Felt: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov 1954-1978 Hardcover – 1980

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Asimov makes the mundane interesting. 28 Jan 1999
By Susan Gerbic - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is the second volume of Asimov's interesting life, a bit scary when seeing the thickness of the volume, but well worth it to really inderstand this man. His writing style is orderly and and paragraphs small, you keep reading just one more quick page until you find a chapter has passed.
I did find it frustrating that he didn't include much insight into his family's personalites. He really valued their privacy, but it left me with a feeling of uncompleteness. It reads like diary entries that he knows someone will be reading. No gossip, just the facts.
Isaac does give you a lot of insight into his personality, and by reading "between the lines" you see the real Asimov. He truly was a wonderful entertaining writer as he made the most commonplace activities, good reading.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Superb follow-up to "In Memory Yet Green" 31 Mar 1998
By David Carter ( - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This companion volume to "In Memory Yet Green" is a must for anyone that truly appreciates the works of Isaac Asimov. If you can find it, read it. I humbly suggest that the publishers are crazy for letting it go out of print. While the contemporary autobiography (I.Asimov: A Memoir) is fine and provides details beyond 1978, the original two volumes allow you to know the man, his aspirations and accomplishments much more thoroughly. (See review for "In Memory Yet Green - the Autobiography of Isaac Asimov - 1920-1954")
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
In Memory Yet Green 1 Aug 2010
By Louie - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This was a wonderful book and a great insight into a man whose passion for the positiveness of the human race was, I felt, equal to none. There are moments when Asimov turns a brief, yet discerning eye to himself and admits his flaws such as his failed marriage which he acknowledges he had part in its dissolution. He only briefly touches on the lives of his children preferring to keep those portions of his life, and theirs, private. I did not mind these exclusions at all because Asimov makes up for it with a wide range of details in his life from his many speeches, his travels and his interactions with fellow writers, celebrities and other noted figures. He may not be a Shakespeare and some of his non-fiction works may not hold out the test of time but this was an amazing and insightful man whose positiveness about the human race and its limited potential has certainly earned him a place in history.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A twentieth century Sam Pepys 29 Jun 2010
By Vincent Poirier - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Asimov continues the story of his life which he began in "In Memories Yet Green". The first part dealt with his childhood in Brooklyn, his schooldays, his college days, his marriage and his short military service. The second part gives us here the story of Isaac Asimov the writer.

He begins as a newly minted chemistry Ph.D. with a knack for giving good (great) lectures but with no special affinity for original academic research. He continues writing and this supplements his income. He lands a job in Boston and eventually becomes an associate professor of biochemistry in Boston University's department of medicine.

He turns from writing fiction to non-fiction and gradually his writing income exceeds his medical school income and circumstances push him to write full time, much to his delight.

Asimov meets friends and editors for lunch and dinner, he begins a side career as a speaker, he travels a little but only by car, train, or cruise ship since this man who zips through space in his mind won't get on an airplane. He raises two children, divorces, moves back to New York, and remarries. By the end of this account, he's written and published over 200 books.

I'm a great fan of Asimov but I am under no illusion. As a writer of fiction Asimov wrote fun, clever, hugely entertaining stories but I doubt they will be read in a hundred years the way Edgar Allan Poe's stories are today. His fiction entertains but doesn't soothe or enlighten the soul. As a non-fiction writer of science, new discoveries can only make his books outdated. His books on history and literature will last longer, but the fact is there are better books than his on those topics.

In the end though, Isaac Asimov was a phenomenal human being and I don't see why that topic will ever be dated. Perhaps he was not an original thinker like Marvin Minsky or a literary novelist like John Irving. But his account of his own life gives us an intimate and realistic portrait of family life in the 1960s and of the fun an intellectual could have in New York in the 1970s.

This book will, I think, stand the test of time.

Vincent Poirier, Tokyo
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Aren't we glad for I, Asimov? 9 July 2012
By J. Yasmineh - Published on
Format: Paperback
Janet Jeppson-Asimov badgered her husband to write a third volume of autobiography that had a little more emotional depth than the first two, and humanity should be thankful! His first and second are essentially one book, being written together as one manuscript over the course of about two years in 1978 and 1979. Nevertheless, the books have something of a different character, simply because the events being described become more and more recent.

In the first, Asimov begins with some family history occurring before he was born, and much of it deals with his childhood, academic progress, WWII and the beginning of his first marriage. WWII is a matter of historical record, and little about the broad sweep of its arc is in dispute these days. There is very little drama in the life of a child, or the life of a nerdy young adult whose main interests are science and science fiction. There is also little drama in the first flush of immature love that led to his first marriage. What drama there is, concerns events long past or people long dead, and is dealt with without too much worry. Besides which, the main interest of the book is Asimov's increasingly successful forays as a writer, and while consumately interesting, it is not generally a contentious subject.

By the time we reach this volume, In Joy Still Felt, however, one can't help but notice that every second page is emotionally stunted, truncated, abbreviated and censored. People are described as existing, living in a place, going to another place, meeting other people, eating, giving or receiving awards, and occasionally Asimov deigns to tell us if they had a good time or not. What they really did, or talked about, what they thought, or what he thought of them, we will now never know.

Asimov talks of himself with sufficient frankness, and can be forgiven for some occasional bias here and there since he is, of course, himself and can scarcely be expected to be objective. Nevertheless, his accounts of himself are thought provoking, entertaining and interesting, and one can read between some of those lines to get a better idea of Asimov the man, as opposed to Asimov the prolific author.

The mind races however, when attempting to read into the copious space between the lines concerning the halting descriptions of other people. Asimov's own son, David, is scarcely mentioned, while his daughter Robyn is mentioned frequently and with obvious warmth. What little is written about David elsewhere leads one to surmise he would probably be diagnosed as autistic (sharing many of his father's social limitations, and loner habits, but experiencing delayed speech as a child). He probably suffered a poor relationship not only with his own family, but society at large, and for anyone this would be a shame, and emotionally stunting.

Those people Asimov likes get affectionate mentions as the opportunities present, though it's noticeable that nothing bad ever happens and no one ever has a fight with anyone else. Those people Asimov scarcely describes at all, one can only assume nothing good ever happened to describe.

Nevertheless, much of the book still concerns Asimov's writing (and rightly so, since it always consumed the bulk of his time) and his interactions with the publishing industry, which for fans of either will prove engrossing. There are also many more interesting events to describe, which are done in some, emotionally detached, depth, such as the several cruises he took, usually for scientific reasons (and because he didn't fly) as well as his divorce (dealt with tantalising brevity,) and his second marriage.

While either of these volumes on their own would make a long autobiography, the pages fly past. Asimov's writing style is so genial and conversational that almost no mental effort is expended whilst reading (leaving the mind all the freer to understand, which is what made him such a good science writer). The book is not disappointing at all, it's still wonderful. It just leaves one wondering if the unwritten parts are longer than the written.
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