I have seldom come across a book of essays that I want to read, re-read and read yet again. E.B. White's collection left me wondering if I could ever construct a piece of writing, essay or otherwise, to compare to the worst (least good?) in this collection. I think it unlikely. His writing conjures clear and beautiful images. With detailed descriptions of sounds and moments he brings his experiences to the present, to the moment when you read the essay and find yourself immersed in New England, or New York, or Florida. I found so many quotes in the novel that I wrote down either in my journal or on scraps of paper, laughing all the while, intrigued and hoping I could find essays or articles into which I could insert his crystalline depictions of moments, sentiments, and behaviours. I cannot recommend this book enough: find it, read it, realise how your writing can improve having read it.
Charlotte's Web is probably E. B. White's most famous book but this collection of his essays shows what a brilliant and wide-ranging humourist he was. James Thurber regarded White as his teacher in some ways and you can see why from this collection. I'm so pleased to have it, it's funny, critical - in the nicest possible way, kindly, and utterly charming. What a lovely man. What a lovely book.
Although many, if not most, know E.B. White for his children's books, it is in his essays and letters where he truly shines. Although many will equate or compare his work with Twain or even Thurber, White really is in a class by himself. What Ruth is to baseball, what Gretzky is to hockey, E.B. White is to American Letters.
Wow. This book is a treasure chest; I resorted to folding the corners of dozens of pages so I could easily relocate some of its gems. You will hate reaching the end of this book, but you will come away with renewed powers to observe life's little treasures of daily experience. Seeing the world through the eyes of E. B. White is an inspiring privelege, and this book enables that. If books were cookies, this one would win a whopping big prize.