Ben Price, who you know as Dr. Sineokov, ended his life early on the morning of October 16th. Ben found great joy and comfort compiling this blog, and his family and loved ones like to think that he is now in a floating library of his own.
Obituary for Benjamin Drysdale Price
Benjamin Drysdale Price, 27, took his own life early Wednesday morning (October 16, 2013). Ben is survived by his parents, Tori Price and Jim Price, both of Ann Arbor, and his sister, Kit Price, currently living in Ann Arbor and Washington, D.C.
Ben was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 20, 1986. Before his first birthday, he had fallen in love with books. When Ben was 2, Jim, Tori, and Ben moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, into an old house in the Burns Park neighborhood.
From a young age, Ben was bringing to life the characters he learned about in the piles of books he consumed with his parents. From knights and castles to underwater sea creatures to the fighting rodents of Redwall, the stories were always alive in the games and Legos he played.
At the age of 4 and a half he was joined by his sister, Kit. From a young age, Kit always wanted to be just like Ben, and had to be outfitted with her own castle set and Lego board. Ben was an athletic child and welcomed physical challenges, from roughhousing with his sister to playing soccer as a team member of the Jaguars and competitively swimming during summers at Huron Valley Swim Club. He also spent time with his extended family on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire and with the “Drysdale Connection” at special family events and family reunions. Among his many cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, Ben found peace, joy and unquestioned love.
Ben attended Burns Park Elementary, where he was proud to start “world cup soccer” at recess with his friends. In fourth grade, he helped bring the Beatles to the Burns Park Halloween parade, dressed as George Harrison. After Burns Park, Ben attended Greenhills School for middle school and high school. There, his love of books and physical activities shone through as he was a member of the varsity soccer, swimming, and track teams, while graduating cum laude. In nominating Ben for the Greenhills Award (the school’s highest honor), his lifelong friend Ben Kelemen wrote, “Ben is someone who….avoids the spotlight but is richly deserving of our praise and recognition. My father always tried to teach me to ‘be a mench.’ A mench is translated from Yiddish as a human being, someone to emulate, an honorable person of character. I think Ben is just such a person, a, mench.” As a senior and co-captain of the varsity swim team, Ben received the “Silent but Deadly” paper plate award, alluding to his silent nature but his speed and prowess at breaststroke. From Greenhills, he attended Hamilton College in upstate New York, where he studied philosophy and comparative literature, finding a passion for the written word that took him far beyond his written assignments.
During high school, Ben began to struggle with depression. The dark cloud over him grew and in College, his depression became so debilitating that his family brought him home to seek help and support. He found the most comfort in his books and the companionship of his beloved cats. A few authors that especially resonated with him included Marcel Proust, James Joyce, and Jorge Luis Borges. He enjoyed talking about his journeys into literature with others, and shared many favorite passages on his blog (www.thefloatinglibrary.com). After Hamilton, Ben moved back to Ann Arbor, where he worked at Borders and then the Peoples Food Co-Op.
In the final months of his life, Ben came to terms with his depression. After more than a decade of struggle and pain, he was finally able to gain back power over his life and depart feeling happy and completely at peace with his decision. His biggest concern in the months before leaving this world was how his decision was going to irreversibly hurt those whom he loved and who loved him. While his loved ones are brokenhearted to lose Ben, we are trying hard to understand his choice and to find solace that he is no longer in pain.
Memorial contributions in honor of Ben can be made to:
The Ann Arbor District Library
343 S. Fifth Ave.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
or click on link at
In the box on the electronic form that requests your name, put your name, and then “Price”
to indicate that the gift is intended to honor Ben’s Passion for books. Thank you.
Click here for words from Ben’s friends and classmates
Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?
What is a ghost? Stephen said with tingling energy. One who has faded into impalpability through death, through absence, through change of manners.
List! List! O list!
My name is Ben, and I am the ghost of Doctor Sineokov.
Am I a father? If I were?
Everything in this library I have plagiarized with great diligence and care for your (well, mostly my) reading pleasure.
Shrunken uncertain hand.
I have made no effort to contact the various copyright holders to obtain permission to reprint these selections, etc.
But that has been explained, I believe, by jurists.
So sue me. (Please don’t.)
Hamlet, I am thy father’s spirit…
He is a ghost, a shadow now, the wind by Elsinore’s rocks or what you will, the sea’s voice, a voice heard only in the heart of him who is the substance of his shadow, the son consubstantial with the father.
Submissions/Questions/Comments/Errors/Typos: Use the site’s ‘Comment’ function.
Whither away? Exploitable ground.
As we, or mother Dana, weave and unweave our bodies, Stephen said, from day to day, their molecules shuttled to and fro, so does the artist weave and unweave his image. And as the mole on my right breast is where it was when I was born, though all my body has been woven of new stuff time after time, so through the ghost of the unquiet father the image of the unliving son looks forth. In the intense instant of the imagination, when the mind, Shelly says, is a fading coal, that which I was is that which I am and that which in possibility I may come to be. So in the future, the sister of the past, I may see myself as I sit here now but by reflection from that which then I shall be.
Why is that, I wonder, or does it mean something perhaps?
“How I wish I could stop, be finished finally, but with a metaphorical survival, be it the page of a book, a single tress of loose hair…” — Bernardo Soares
Who is Dr Sineokov?
Thank you for your interest, Vicki. Dr. Sineokov is from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Invitation to a Beheading.” The Floating Library was erected “at just that spot in the city river” where Dr. Sineokov drowned, to honor his memory. I recommend the book – highly entertaining. (See the “Sineokov Memorial Library” quote below for more information.)
Thanks for the blogroll – appropriate that you bring us this work with a Nabakov inspired guise when it is Borges that fuels guides most of my ‘sharing’.
Great stuff… love Cioran. Will be coming back.
In a most circuitous way I came upon your blog this morning, read a number of thought-provoking entries and must tell you that you have a new fan.
I will keep reading; you keep posting!
Oh, i’m so so sorry. Prices- I truly hope you guys are well. I just now stumbled upon this blog (for the second time), but only now saw that the creator had passed. He seems/seemed like a good, smart, and lovely spirit. Again, wish ya’ll all the best.
And best to you too Ben, if you’re listening.