> Skip to content
  • Published: 1 May 2001
  • ISBN: 9780375756498
  • Imprint: Random House US Group
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $75.00
Categories:

The Fun of It

Stories from The Talk of the Town



William Shawn once called The Talk of the Town the soul of the magazine. The section began in the first issue, in 1925. But it wasn't until a couple of years later, when E. B. White and James Thurber arrived, that the Talk of the Town story became what it is today: a precise piece of journalism that always gets the story and has a little fun along the way.

The Fun of It is the first anthology of Talk pieces that spans the magazine's life. Edited by Lillian Ross, the longtime Talk reporter and New Yorker staff writer, the book brings together pieces by the section's most original writers. Only in a collection of Talk stories will you find E. B. White visiting a potter's field; James Thurber following Gertrude Stein at Brentano's; Geoffrey Hellman with Cole Porter at the Waldorf Towers; A. J. Liebling on a book tour with Albert Camus; Maeve Brennan ventriloquizing the long-winded lady; John Updike navigating the passageways of midtown; Calvin Trillin marching on Washington in 1963; Jacqueline Onassis chatting with Cornell Capa; Ian Frazier at the Monster Truck and Mud Bog Fall Nationals; John McPhee in virgin forest; Mark Singer with sixth-graders adopting Hudson River striped bass; Adam Gopnik in Flatbush visiting the ìgrandest theatre devoted exclusively to the movies; Hendrik Hertzberg pinning down a Sulzberger on how the Times got colorized; George Plimpton on the tennis court with Boris Yeltsin; and Lillian Ross reporting good little stories for more than forty-five years. They and dozens of other Talk contributors provide an entertaining tour of the most famous section of the most famous magazine in the world.

  • Published: 1 May 2001
  • ISBN: 9780375756498
  • Imprint: Random House US Group
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $75.00
Categories:

About the authors

E. B. White

E.B.White, the author of twenty books of prose and poetry, was awarded the 1970 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for his children's books, Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web. This award is given every five years "to an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have, over a period of years, made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children." The year 1970 also marked the publication of Mr White's third books for children, The Trumpet of the Swan, honoured by the International Board on Books for international importance. In 1973, it received the Sequoyah Award (Oklahoma) and the William Allen White Award (Kansas), voted by the school children of those states as their "favourite book" of the year.Born in Mount Vernon, New York, Mr. White attended public schools there. He was graduated from Cornell University in 1921, worked in New York for a year, then travelled about. After five or six years of trying many sorts of jobs, he joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine, then in its infancy. The connection proved a happy one and resulted in a steady output of satirical sketches, poems, essays and editorials. His essays have also appeared in Harper's Magazine, and his books include One Man's Meat, The Second Tree From the Corner, Letters of E.B.White, The Essays of E.B.White and Poems and Sketches of E.B.White.In 1938, Mr White moved to the country. On his farm in Maine he kept animals, and some of these creatures got into his stories and books. Mr White said he found writing difficult and bad for one's disposition, but he kept at it. He began Stuart Little in the hope of amusing a six-year old niece of his, but before he finished it, she had grown up.For his total contribution to American letters, Mr White was awarded the 1971 National Medal for Literature. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy named Mr White as one of thirty-one Americans to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mr White also received the National Institute of Arts and Letters' Gold Medal for Essays and Criticism, and in 1973 the members of the Institute elected him to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a society of fifty members. He also received honorary degrees from seven colleges and universities. Mr White, who died on October 1, 1985, is survived by his son and his grandchildren.

James Thurber

James Thurber was born in 1894 in Ohio. After leaving college, he joined the then-struggling New Yorker magazine, helping to change its fortunes with the unique wit of his writings and cartoons. He was to remain a contributor for the rest of his life. Thurber's sophisticated humour saw him achieve worldwide fame and success, with almost thirty books of fiction, cartoons, children's stories and essays translated into dozens of languages, and his most famous work, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, was made into a film with Danny Kaye as the eponymous hero. James Thurber died in 1961.