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Essays of E.B. White

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  2,682 Ratings  ·  261 Reviews
The essays in this companion volume to the Letters of E. B. White have been selected by White himself, from a lifetime of writing. "I have chosen the ones that have amused me in the rereading," he writes in the Foreword, "along with a few that seemed to have the odor of durability clinging to them." The Essays of E. B. White are incomparable; like his Letters, this is a vo ...more
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published October 19th 1978 by Harper & Row (first published 1977)
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Rebecca McNutt
From the author of Charlotte's Web, this collection of essays is as powerful as it is original, and definitely a classic in every sense of the word.
Cheryl
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-enjoy-again
Especially for "Mr Forbush's Friends...."
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Ok, wow. So many observations, some made eight decades ago, are still relevant. The very first, about how 'stuff' accumulates so that when one tries to move to a new home one has to take the time to review one's life, is gorgeous. ("Good-Bye to Forty-Eighth Street") That whole first section, on farming, is a must-read for fans of Michael Perry. The tale of his trip to Alaska, as a callow youth in the early 20s, is memorable. There are some refe
...more
Joe
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like the majority of American liberal artists, I know E.B. White principally from his editorial work. The Elements of Style was the principal explicit force behind my own understanding of the sentence and the essay, and I assumed its writer would possess that bright cogency that tickles the alert reader into giggles.

I also knew E.B. White as the author of books for children, and though it has been nearly two decades since I read Charlotte's Web, I remember vividly the story and the prematurely
...more
Chrissie
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Keep in mind that usually I do not enjoy either essays or short stories, but here the writing is exceptional. It is this that makes all the difference.

The essays cover many different topics, such as the art of writing, appreciation of life’s small delights, wildlife (animals, flowers, birds), books and authors such as The Lives and Times of Archy and Mehitabel by Don Marquis, Henry David Thoreau aand The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., trips to Alaska and Florida, the tribulations of a
...more
Roy Lotz
There is really no way for a man to put his arms around a big house plant and still remain a gentleman.

E.B. White’s name, along with Will Strunk’s, is now synonymous with good style. If that isn’t a compliment to a writer, I don’t know what is.

My first encounter with the duo was in my high school English class of junior year. My teacher was old-fashioned enough to believe that we should learn how to use punctuation. This came as a shock, since none of her predecessors had spared so much as a
...more
Chris J
Yo, Goodreads I.T. - give me the opportunity to give half-stars! It's like...2017 or something. This book is a classic 3.5 stars. When forced to round, I must round down.

Mr. White was a wonderful essayist. This particular collection contains more than a few gems but is too inconsistent to make the entire volume a ' must read.' Yet, even as I write that last sentence, I doubt myself for I did enjoy the book and am quite thankful that I read it.

I will say that this collection has inspired me to
...more
David
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Here are some of the opening sentences found in this collection of essays.

To come upon an article in the Times called "The Meaning of Brown Eggs" was an unexpected pleasure.
Someone told me the other day that a seagull won't eat a smelt.
I spent several days and nights in mid-September with an ailing pig.
Mosquitoes have arrived with the warm nights, and our bedchamber is their theater under the stars.
I wasn't really prepared for the World's Fair last week, and it certainly wasn't prepared for
...more
Antigone
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays-shorts
If you occasionally find your foot lost of its purchase on the bicycle pedal while speeding down a death-defying San Francisco hill - minus the bicycle and minus the hill - then the essays of E.B. White should be immediately looked into. White's work is thoroughly grounding. Whether he's enumerating the pleasures of his Home Crawford 8-20 wood-burning kitchen stove, his boulder in the pasture woods where he retreats when he's disenchanted or frightened, his geese, his pig, the local raccoon, his ...more
Rosemary
Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It turns out E. B. White is clever, warm, and eloquent-- as the writer of Elements of Style ought to be. He writes about pretty much everything: books, politics, the city, the country, his rattletrap car, the debate on brown vs. white eggs, all with both ease and conviction.

"All that I ever hope to say in books is that I love the world. I guess you can find it there, if you dig around." That's what E. B. White has to say for himself. And if you don't love the world already, reading these essays
...more
Andrew
Mar 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I took my time reading these essays, one at a time, over the past summer. It ended up being one of the best reading experiences I've had.

To quote E.B. White - "As a writing man, or secretary, I have always felt charged with the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly and unworldly enchantment, as though I might be held personally responsible if even a small one were to be lost."

That's exactly the thought behind each of these pieces, and reading them, you're always anxious to discover whic
...more
Amy
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it
E.B. White may best be known as the author of Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web, but he had a prolific writing career. In this collection he has chosen his favorite selections to include from a lifetime of writing. He based his selections on his own enjoyment upon re-reading and on their durability.

The selections here are varied and cover White's time in Maine, Florida and New York. White experienced life both on a small farm and in the big cities and essays of both are included here. They are p
...more
Kris
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew this would be a five-star book after reading the very first line. I often find that a large amount of non-fiction books are written by people who White calls (himself included), "sustained by the childish belief that everything he or she thinks is of general interest." So White admits this elephant in the room straight away, so you can get on with reading the rest of his works. It is quite amazing how, though he wrote closer over half a century ago, many of the ideas he discusses are stil ...more
Bonny
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
I am continually amazed by and incredibly appreciative of E.B. White's writing, no matter whether his subject is spiders, pigs, roofing the barn, hurricanes, or war. He started writing essays around 1930 and continued for decades; his children's fiction was published about 70 years ago, and his writing is still relevant today and has so much to offer current readers.
Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are th
...more
David
Jul 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, nonfiction
I picked up this book for three reasons: simple booklust; my life-long infatuation with E.B. White's writing; and the inclusion of the essay "Here is New York."

In the preface, White wrote of "Here is New York" that it had been seriously affected by the passage of time, and that the city he described in the summer of 1948 seemed to him to have disappeared and been reborn. But a lot of it still sounds right to me.

Here, then, are the opening lines of "Here is New York":

"On any person who desires s
...more
Wendy Pitts
Full disclosure I did not read ALL the essays but, the ones I read I did enjoy. This is not really my type of book. Rather dense reading where you have to slow down and pay attention to detail because White is very witty. Enjoyable slow read.
Barbara
Apr 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reading
i read this to learn how it's done when it's done in finest form. i read this to shout hallelujah at the end of a marvelous sentence, or at the choice of a word that takes my breath away. i read this to wipe tears from my cheeks. i read this to laugh out loud and mercilessly.

this book is the holy mecca for those of us who can't stop believing in the power of word to burrow deep within the human heart and take us hostage, to clomp onto a brain cell and draw pictures we've never seen before. the
...more
Darla
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: essays
I had a difficult time rating this book. There were a handful of essays I really liked--mostly the autobiographical ones. I always think of EBW as a kind grandfatherly figure, but he lived quite the eclectic, adventurous, activist life. He is the "White" in Strunk and White's"Elements of Style." I often thought of his political essays -- the more things change the more they stay the same. However there were many essays that just didn't seem relevant or interesting to me. When I did a mathematica ...more
Kathy
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not an essay fan or a short fan but you cannot get better than E. B. White's essays. I can't believe I've gone 65 years without anyone suggesting I read them. They're fabulous and in both political and environmental they're unfortunately very much on target. Sometimes it was hard to believe I was reading a piece written 50 plus years ago and not written recently.

I highly recommend them to anyone.
Jana L.
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E.B. White is so good at describing the seemingly-mundane, not in a way that transforms it into something magical, but in a way that simply brings to light all that is actually going on in the world around us. I want to develop his poetically scientific (or is that scientifically poetic?) eye and appetite for what the world has to offer. It's damn near spiritual.
Dave
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
E. B. White was a great essayist. If you want to spend a month reading an essay every morning I highly recommend this book. Whether it was observations of life on the farm and by the sea in Maine, or the ever changing world of New York in the 1930's - 60's, White does a masterful job of describing what he sees and experiences. Read this.
Lorraine
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this a long time ago, and I believe it is time to revisit it. I remember reading one essay a night right before bed. It was like treating myself to a piece of great dark chocolate before bed.
Larry Putt
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
E.B. White is a master of the essay. I found the essays of his time on his farm to be both heartfelt and amusing. When I finished the book I felt sad because it was like I was saying goodbye to an old friend.
Nancy
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
E.B. White - an American treasure!
#DealMeIn2017
Review
Guillermo Galvan
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've never gotten into essays, but maybe I am now after reading the Essays of E.B. White. My first encounter with White, not counting Charlotte's Web, was the The Elements of Style, which I consider one of the most essential and practical books in writing. Seeing that I have an essay exam coming up, I thought his essays should reflect the school of clear prose advocated in the Elements of Style. This collection turned out to be more than ordinary study material.

The essays were written from 1934
...more
David Dahl
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although many of these essays hail from the first half of the 20th century, I found them surprisingly fresh.
Mary
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I discovered a long time ago,” White wrote in a letter, “that writing of the small things of the day, the trivial matters of the hearth, the inconsequential but near things of this living, was the only kind of creative work which I could accomplish with any sanctity or grace.”

And accomplish it he did. with so much grace, humor and simple humanity. I am now a huge E.B. White fan. Can't wait to read more of his work.

Brynn
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"In New York, a citizen is likely to keep on the move, shopping for the perfect arrangement of rooms and vistas, changing his habitation according to fortune, whim, and need. And in every place he abandons he leaves something vital, it seems to me, and starts his new life somewhat less encrusted, like a lobster that has shed its skin and is for a time soft and vulnerable." (7)

"No matter what changes take place in the world, or in me, nothing ever seems to disturb the face of spring." (17)

"I woul
...more
Alison
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I spent the winter reading this book. I have always loved E.B. White's fictional books, and reading them again out loud with my kids was a treat twice because I got to see them enjoy them and I got to enjoy them anew as an adult. Is there anything so wonderful as the sadness of Wilbur in Charlotte's Web? And I really think that Trumpet of the Swam might be one of the best books ever written about living with a learning disability -- for adults or kids.

But earlier this year when I went searching
...more
Alessandra
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In one essay about watching a circus act rehearse, White says, "As a writing man, or secretary, I have always felt charged with the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly or unworldly enchantment, as though I might be held personally responsible if even a small one were to be lost." E.B White is a keen observer, and what his writing preserves is probably worth more than the sum of its contents. His accounts are funny and his humor incisive (ex. "The Eye of Edna" and "Afternoon of an Amer ...more
Larissa
This book was a favorite of a great friend of mine (who gifted it to me in high school, incidentally) and I just now decided to dip back into it because I've been trying to do more narrative non-fiction reading and White's essay "Death of a Pig" was referenced by two different authors (Geraldine Brooks and Ian Reid) during a writing workshop I attended in the spring.

There are some lovely essays here—the paean to the pig, yes, but I was also in a bit of a country mode and really enjoyed "Coon Tr
...more
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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...
“One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy.” 160 likes
“The subtlest change in New York is something people don't speak much about but that is in everyone's mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition. (Written in 1949, 22 years before the World Trade Center was completed.)” 32 likes
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