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The Points Of My Compass
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The Points Of My Compass

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Published January 1st 2000 by HarperCollins (first published 1962)
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Oct 28, 2010 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.

Aug 29, 2008 Scott rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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...more
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.
Louise Turner
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...more
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
it was very different than most of the books I read but, I found White's prose to be relaxed and conversational.
Just delightful to read these essays! Out of print. So glad to have a copy. I know I will want to reread it.
The essays in this book are timely and timeless. I would highly recommend it
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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...
Charlotte's Web Stuart Little The Trumpet of the Swan Here Is New York Three Beloved Classics by E. B. White: Charlotte's Web/the Trumpet of the Swan/Stuart Little

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