Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Points Of My Compass” as Want to Read:
The Points Of My Compass
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Points Of My Compass

4.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  104 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Published January 1st 2000 by HarperCollins (first published 1962)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Points Of My Compass, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Points Of My Compass

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 268)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 28, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Wendell Berry
For most of us, the name E.B. White conjures up one of two things: the charming animal stories of our childhood - Charlotte's Web, Trumpet of the Swan, or Stuart Little - or The Elements of Style, the authoritative manual written by White's mentor and revised by White in the 1950s. It wasn't until I read The Points of My Compass that I discovered the E.B. White that made both of those previous associations possible - the New Yorker columnist, the thoughtful essayist, the man of farm and city.

Stephen Hicks
Nov 19, 2015 Stephen Hicks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most famously known for Charlotte's Web, of course, E.B. White shows extreme deftness in the art of the essay in this quiet little work. These "letters" as he's dubbed them are brimming with fantastic writing that is captivating and rejuvenating (I sincerely laughed several times, which is awkward in a coffee shop). His style is light-hearted, clear-sighted, and cunning. The topics herein cross the spectrum of the late 1950s from the inclusion of the television to the American home to the implic ...more
Aug 29, 2008 Scott rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: writers
E.B. White, of Strunk and White fame, and Charlotte's Web fame as well, writes impeccably. This is a book of essays that he collected together, from the mid-1950's. I'd compare his writing to either expensive cognac or really smooth milk chocolate, except it's not sweet. It does go down well and leaves me with a warm glow. The writing is just so clear. He is a fond observer of nature and remarkably sensible observer of human nature. Considering when this was written, I'm quite surprised to see t ...more
Apr 25, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, essays
This book contains 18 of E.B.White's essays, including The Ring of Time and Coon Tree (two of his better known essays). If you aren't going to read the whole book, read the last one, "The Years of Wonder". It is White's account of traveling to Alaska and working his way back on a shabby cruiseship. He never takes himself too seriously, -- the essay is fascinating and humorous, possibly my favorite of the collection.

White is brilliant. Even when I completely disagree with him I enjoy reading his
Sep 27, 2009 Sarahasinger rated it it was amazing
If you ever had aspirations to be a writer... don't read this book - E.B. White might scare you off. He writes the way I would write, if I could.
Dec 28, 2015 Karin rated it it was amazing
Love. Relaxing and thought provoking and real. Will read more of White.
Louise Turner
Oct 17, 2009 Louise Turner rated it it was amazing
I reread at least portions of this wonderful book of essays almost annually. As far as I'm concerned there is no better writer than E.B.
White. He makes each sentence, each word count with his spare and elegant prose. The thing that led me back to this book at this time, though, was deciding to reread Thoreau's "Walden". I remembered there was an essay in "Points of My Compass" in which White expressed his appreciation for Thoreau's point of view...thinks "Walden" should be given to all college g
Jameson Skaife
May 05, 2016 Jameson Skaife rated it liked it
Great time capsule read. A bit rambling at times, but interesting juxtaposition of topics. A bit curmudgeonly.
Feb 03, 2009 Reece rated it liked it
The foreward alone was enough to convince me that this book was going to be something special, and his the first essay doesn't disappoint. Although this collection of non-fiction essays is obviously a product of the time when it was written--the 50's, I think--they still speak to modern social conventions (crazy-ass media and perverse bloodlusty reporters for example) and the larger human condition as well. Yes sir.
Jul 06, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: june-2011
I am re reading this for about the third time. I had given it to my Dad years ago (after reading the essays, no doubt) and he has recently returned the book to me. They are timeless but also carry the themes of concerns re international relations, industrial military complex of the 1950s, national politics and the "everyman" observations of a great writer who lives both in New York City and rural Maine.
Mar 17, 2013 Dave rated it liked it
Nice collection of essays, the best of which are about White himself (especially the last one, "The Years of Wonder"), reading and writing (especially Thoreau), or life on the farm in Maine ("The Eye of Edna"). Though I would read anything that he wrote, I think his views of the U.N., television, etc. are too dated and not as felt as things that come from his own experience.
Oct 25, 2014 Sean rated it it was amazing
Every so often there is a book that when you see the page numbers growing in size you feel a certain disappointment, knowing that you are getting loser to the end.

Every sentence is a bite from gourmet meal.
Dec 26, 2007 Lori rated it really liked it
a witty commentary of essays depicting what life was like in the late 1950s; both personal accounts and political opinions. It was striking to see that not much has changed....
Michelle Sharp
Oct 31, 2013 Michelle Sharp rated it really liked it
it was very different than most of the books I read but, I found White's prose to be relaxed and conversational.
Dec 18, 2015 Jackie rated it really liked it
Wonderful writing. Some of it fairly dated. I scanned a few chapters, but overall enjoyed this book.
May 18, 2011 Penn rated it really liked it
Just delightful to read these essays! Out of print. So glad to have a copy. I know I will want to reread it.
Aug 12, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
The essays in this book are timely and timeless. I would highly recommend it
Patricia Gorla
Patricia Gorla marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2016
Sarah Sacasas
Sarah Sacasas marked it as to-read
Jun 25, 2016
Annette marked it as to-read
Jun 19, 2016
Alison marked it as to-read
Jun 06, 2016
Aschiele rated it liked it
May 09, 2016
Kayla marked it as to-read
May 06, 2016
Thomas Fackler
Thomas Fackler marked it as to-read
May 03, 2016
Pat Winter
Pat Winter marked it as to-read
Apr 25, 2016
m. a. g.
m. a. g. rated it it was amazing
Apr 22, 2016
Gemma marked it as to-read
Apr 10, 2016
Adam K
Adam K marked it as to-read
Apr 10, 2016
Rebecca marked it as to-read
May 18, 2016
Simon marked it as to-read
Apr 03, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Oxford Book of Essays
  • A Cry Like a Bell
  • Prejudices: A Selection
  • Introduction to Aristotle
  • The Twilight Zone: Complete Stories
  • Whose Religion Is Christianity?: The Gospel beyond the West
  • The Essays, Vol. 1: 1904-1912
  • Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms for Different Personality Types
  • Dropping Your Guard
  • Edgar Allan Poe: Selected Prose and Poetry
  • The Accidental Pope: A Novel
  • The Bedford Reader
  • The Wars of the Ancient Greeks
  • To Change China: Western Advisers in China
  • To Be a Pilgrim
  • Central Park: An Anthology
  • How to Read the Bible as Literature: . . . and Get More Out of It
  • Sinai and Zion
Elwyn Brooks White was a leading American essayist, author, humorist, poet and literary stylist and author of such beloved children's classics as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan. He graduated from Cornell University in 1921 and, five or six years later, joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine. He authored over seventeen books of prose and poetry and was elected to t ...more
More about E.B. White...

Share This Book

“I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel.” 84 likes
More quotes…