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The Second Tree from the Corner

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  274 ratings  ·  30 reviews
"The variety of subject matter to be found in these graceful pages is enormous. But no matter what his subject, Mr. White always writes about it in a prose that is a joy to read."--New York Times
Paperback, 271 pages
Published February 1st 1989 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 28th 1954)
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  274 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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I had no idea that this writer of charming children's books wrote prolifically for adults too. He was a newspaper man and one of the things that stands out in this collection is his discussion of the way in which newspapers have to fill their pages and the consequent lowering of the standards of what is written. Like now, except that newspapers were not a bottomless internet pit. His credentials to be this critic? Well, he was the rewriter of The Elements of Style, which might be the most famous ...more
Betsy Robinson
I browsed—reading and bypassing so much (all the poetry) that I'm not rating this book. This 1954 potpourri of E. B. White's essays, New Yorker briefs, fiction (everything from short stories to science fiction), poetry, and satire contains many pieces that are too dated to hold up and others that just weren't of interest to me (but if I'm ever writing about a Model T Ford, I hope I remember to read his complete history of the car). Nevertheless this book will be valuable to anybody who wants to ...more
Emilie Sandoz-Voyer
May 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who loves smart, tender writing about things that matter, and pigeons, and fred the dog, and goslings.
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
There is such a variety of well written material in this book that everyone will find something to enjoy whether it is the prescient telling of events that have since happened or his recall of days gone by. All are told with an easy humor coursing through them.

"The Hour of Letdown" involves an intelligent machine that encounters resistance when it wants a drink after a hard day. For thoughts on sanity and sense or a lack thereof, here are two tales to try. "The Door" is a human version of a rat
Kenn Speicher
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
White and Thurber at the New Yorker at the same time. The Golden Age.
Feb 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like mild whimsical humor
It was a nice diversion and a nice light read.
Vivienne Strauss
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Prophetic, funny, and sad at times. Made me feel nostalgia for a time before I was born.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
I love EB White. I believe his writings and essays are amongst the best of the twentieth century. This does not even address his children’s literature for which he is most famous.

That said, this collection is near the bottom of the compilations of his work. Wry, witty, erudite, yes but not close to the best of his writing. More a hodgepodge of miscellanies.

The fantastic piece “ Death of a Pig “ closes the book but, while fantastically worthwhile, it is in his better collections. Also included
4 out of 5
Dec 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bed-books
A roundup of Talk of the Town and other pieces, most notably several about Fred the dog and the famous "Death of a Pig."
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun, eclectic articles and short stories for adults.
Shane C
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
the book was very original!!
Jan 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
E.B. White’s four major themes recurring throughout this collection are both highly entertaining and painfully relevant: the absurdity of daily living in the context of a war abroad (WWII), the lamentable force of fear in the face of a more abstract kind of warfare (the Cold War), the contrast between old ways and new (agriculture, urbanization, mechanization, to name a few applications), and the role of the literary humorist.

How does humor fit in with such heavy topics? According to White, whil
Jul 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-b-white, poetry
Collection of early works, stories, poems, essays and comments on the past, present and future of the city and the country.

Quote: The Home

Homemaking reared its chintzy little head the other day when the ladies of the American Home Economics Association decided that the Home should rate a Cabinet position, to be called the Department of the American Home. It is a noble idea and would unquestionably attract the wrong people...she would probably be a lady whose emphasis would be on vitamins and lam
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
There was something wrong with this book. I love E. B. White and have enjoyed others of his essay collections before (especially One Man's Meat, which is nearly perfect). But this one bothered me. I think it's because these are essays White chose as his most lasting, and he's just wrong--many of the short pieces are too dated, too arch, too arty (especially the stories). I kept hoping they'd get to that sublime level of his letters or other pieces, but most seem to try too hard. Exceptions: the ...more
Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it
very uneven collection. great writer obviously, and there is some light funny stuff [e.g., a vignette about being hospital patient; letter to the IRS; musing about how to respond if you answer the phone and someone asks for you by name.....], some touching memoir bits, some incisive essays. Mixed together kind of randomly with poems, dated short nuggets from the New Yorker that didn't really need reprinting, etc.

definitely recommend skimming.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. The best parts for me were the letters to the IRS & the Humane Society. Had me laughing loudly.

I adore E.B. White's sense of humor and his writing is SO good. I find myself reading one of his books, then finishing and reading a few others, but sometimes while reading the others I'm thinking about E.B. White and how much I love his writing. I'm always looking forward to opening up another one of his books when I'm done with whatever I'm reading.
Sep 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, nonfiction
I read this several months ago, and I don't remember much of it. I remember liking it. White is a lot like James Thurber, whom I adore. One would read this more for the tone than for the content. Middle class 1930s-50s white male being a little silly and self-deprecating.
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Mostly forgettable collection of essays and short bits from the New Yorker 1936-1951. The best one is his homage to the Model T, where he describes what it was like to drive one. The gas tank was under the front seat; rear view mirror and windshield wipers were extra.
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
No surprise: this collection is full of great writing. Especially loved the little, Talk of the Town-sized pieces. I love White's voice, his amused attitude...
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Read title short story only in "55 Short Stories From The New Yorker".
Kris McCracken
Jul 22, 2013 rated it liked it
A collection of literary miscellanea, some dated, some prescient. Uneven. C.
Ryan Williams
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
One of White's weaker books. The best essays are collected elsewhere, the poems are lustreless, and the whole a grab-bag.

Get his Selected Essays instead.
Tim Timberly
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit dated, but I liked his view of the world.
Oct 07, 2009 added it
Jimmy AI
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
On Chinese translation.
Aug 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shorts
recently re-read this book of shorts originally read in early 2006.
god, i love his writing. so clean and easy and witty.
Darren Compton
rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2014
Jeff Jones
rated it really liked it
Nov 08, 2008
rated it it was amazing
Mar 18, 2010
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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
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