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Nothing with Strings: NPR's Beloved Holiday Stories

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  360 ratings  ·  75 reviews
For more than a decade, Bailey White has delivered a story each Thanksgiving to National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" listeners. Long awaited by her many fans, "Nothing with Strings" is the entire collection of these Thanksgiving stories, published together for the first time.With wit and charm, Bailey White writes about an almost-gone little town where a spoon p ...more
Hardcover, 193 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Scribner Book Company
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3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  360 ratings  ·  75 reviews


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Chris
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. Fair enough. But there are some books that you should be able to make a fairly accurate guess about the subject matter based on the title. For example, if you picked up a book titled “The Life and Times of George Washington, First President of the United States,” you would probably be surprised, and more than a little upset, if the book turned out to be about Millard Fillmore.

Now we come to the title of the book being reviewed: “Nothing With Strings
...more
Natalie
I think my rating has more to do with the book being different than my expectations than the actual quality of the book.

I downloaded the audio version of this from my library for my christmas trip because I wanted something holidayish for the holiday season. Yeah. This is not that. At all. All the stories seemed really similar, and some really quite tragic. Tragic stories aren't necessarily a bad thing, but you have to make the reader care about the people you're writing about. I was apathetic.
...more
Barbara
Jul 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
A collection of short stories from Bailey White, a featured contributor to NPR's All Things Considered. I haven't heard Ms White on radio tho' having read these, I can see why they may have her telling her little vignettes rooted in life in a small Southern town. They're charming, intriguing, on occasion whimsical, with a few twists and the right atmosphere for warm and winning all-American story-telling.

I was browsing at the library, looking for something else, and the idea of shorts was pretty
...more
Grady Ormsby
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Though I haven't heard her in a long time, I've always enjoyed Bailey White's stories on NPR. "Nothing with Strings" is a compilation of her Thanksgiving stories.

Because I've heard her on the radio, I was able to hear her voice in my head as I read the stories. (This is an added dimension to my enjoyment of reading Garrison Keillor as well.) The cadence and intonation of her South Georgia accent is a real pleasure.

But the sound of the stories is only an added treat. The real enjoyment is in the
...more
Estella
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
I gave this compilation of short stories a two-star rating because Bailey White is very good at what she does. I would love to be a gifted writer such as she, but I would choose to write about things that are uplifting, not downright depressing. I had to watch a Hallmark movie to offset the gloomy feeling I had after I turned the final page. If you believe even *remotely* that happy endings are possible, don't read this book.
Molly
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book left me feeling confused, frustrated, even deceived.

First off - Can someone please explain to me what was going on in the story “The Long Black Veil”?? I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure that one out and still it eludes me.

This is my first experience with the writing of Bailey White, so I had no clue of her writing style. But it says very clearly on the cover that it’s a collection of “beloved holiday stories” by NPR, along with a charming drawing of an unwrapped present an
...more
Jaret
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-2000
From the title, I was expecting a collection of holiday stories. Nope. Not here. Only one story revolved around the holiday season. What I got was a collection of random stories that would be classified as Southern fiction. Most of the stories left me wondering what just happened. A lot of them felt incomplete. Most of them went over my head. I wouldn't have finished the collection, but I needed it for a challenge. The one story I did enjoy was "Bus Ride". It was a simple story that revolved aro ...more
Priscilla Herrington
Nothing with Strings is a delightful collection of short stories of small town Southern life; these stories, by Bailey White, were originally herd on NPR - one each Thanksgiving. While each story is complete on its own, together they provide a picture of life in a small town where nothing much happens - or rather, where all the complexities of human experience may be found.
Elizabeth Meadows
I didn't care for this book as much as the 3 other books that I've read by Bailey White. It was enjoyable, but I had a hard time figuring out what was going on in some of the stories and then it would be over and I'd have to read or listen again just to understand what happened.
I do love Bailey White's quirky sense of humor and unusual characters.
Teresa
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I have to say that this audiobook was just okay. I enjoyed some of the stories more than others. But it was such a hodgepodge of things that I had trouble keeping track of what was being read. There were some quirky stories and characters that had you chuckle, but for the most part it was just meh.
Bev(baglady)
Dec 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: cct-library
3.5 stars
Lorraine
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I felt that all the story were cliffhangers
Donna Davis
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: White women over age 50
With Christmas around the corner, I bought this slender volume for less than five bucks. It brightened my days (and my bathroom) until I finished it.

White has a droll sense of humor, quirky, eccentric, and at times understated enough that if my mind strays to other things even slightly, I find I have missed something funny. My favorites are the title story, which is fall-down-laughing funny, and “What Would They Say in Birmingham”. Here I have to add that White’s protagonists tend to be Caucasia
...more
Jgrace
Nothing With Strings - B.White
Audio performance by Lorna Raver
4 stars

Years ago, I enjoyed hearing Bailey White read her stories on NPR. I know I still have cassette tapes of some of these stories around somewhere, although I don’t have the means to play them anymore. This is a collection of about a dozen short stories that were broadcasted yearly on Thanksgiving. Some of the stories do have a holiday setting, but mostly they are just good stories of the Deep South with quirky characters in qu
...more
Gerry
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really like her books. Each story makes you think and gives you a warm feeling.
Joy
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
I first learned of Bailey White when she occasionally read her essays
on NPR's 'All Things Considered.' I enjoyed these little stories of
life in small town southern Georgia, but I like her stories of life with
her mother better. A favorite story in this book was about a bus ride.
"There will be no smoking on the bus," the driver announced, settling himself with practiced care into his seat. "If you've got a radio, use the headphones and keep the volume down. If you must chew gum, don't pop it. And
...more
Roz Curney-Sherod
This was a weird collection of stories! None of them had any holiday theme whatsoever and I can't understand how this was marketed as such. I hear the author writes these stories around Thanksgiving and they are published around this time. Some of the stories are very interesting, I especially liked the Bus Trip and the story of the woman who's husband wanted a divorce. Now that I think of it, this was probably the only story that actually happened around the holidays, right after Thanksgiving. ...more
Jane
Jun 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
I love Bailey White!! I miss hearing her essays on NPR. I guess she still does one a year on Thanksgiving, but I'm too busy to listen that day.

So this was a re-read for me. I go back to her books for their gentle humor and quiet wisdom. Actually I think I like Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Sleeping at the Starlite Motel a little better than this one. Her stories of teaching first grade are my very favorites as well as anything about her eccentric family.

Although this quotation isn't exactly typical
...more
Patty Marvel
May 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Don't let the title fool you - not all of the dozen or so stories by Bailey White have anything to do with holidays. Lorna Raver, also known as The Young and the Restless' Millie Perkins and Drag Me to Hell's Mrs. Ganush, adds depth and authenticity to stories set south of the Mason-Dixon line with her own drawl. The plots follow the lives of Everymen and -women dealing with the curve balls life can throw, from a relative dealing with Alzheimer's to infidelity to house guests who become more and ...more
Jacqueline Pearce
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
I had mixed feelings about these stories at first, as I was expecting a light, uplifting holiday read, but once I got over this expectation I enjoyed them very much. The stories are well-written, low-key and subtly poignant. The first stories left me feeling slightly disturbed --as if I might have missed something. Many of the stories involve people failing to make connections where connections should be (between relatives, neighbours, etc), while unexpected connections happen between strangers ...more
Bookreaderljh
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Though in the last year or so I have read a number of books that were collections of short stories, This is still not one of my favorite genres. These stories were sometimes odd and though the characterizations were complete and interesting, at times I would get to the end and say "Huh?" I did enjoy a few, though. (Especially "Meals on Wheels", "The Telephone Man", "Lonesome Without You") And all of the stories had that Southern character that mixes humor with eccentricity with pathos. I'm wonde ...more
Paula
Jun 22, 2014 rated it liked it
There's a string of Christmas lights on the cover, and the book is described as a collection of "holiday" stories, but there's nothing Christmassy about this collection. Apparently they were all read on NPR on successive Thanksgiving Days, but they really have nothing to do with any holiday - not Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, nothin'. I had waited to read this book thinking it would get me in the Christmas spirit, or just be a timely addition to my other holiday activities, but ...more
Vikki
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard Bailey White telling a story on NPR about when she heard a certain bird she moved from the back bedroom out to the sleeping porch. I loved her voice, her words and her story so I immediately had to get one of her books. I chose Nothing with Strings. It is listed as NPR's beloved holiday stories. I thought of these stories as Thanksgiving stories. I loved them. They were just little short stories. I could imagine Bailey White telling them in her wonderful southern accent. A very good rea ...more
Keegan
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it
This oddly labeled "holiday stories" collection was still an interesting read, even if not particularly holiday-ee. I read it for a book club and it was great for that setting: the stories don't neatly resolve, there was sometimes more than one interpretation of what had happened in the story, there was sometimes more than one idea of what should have happened, and there was more than one way things might have been going to happen, and there were many different interpretations of what things mea ...more
MissSusie
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a neat collection of southern short stories I’m not sure why they say they are holiday themed because really they’re not, but good none the less. I would say the theme is aging & gardening, southern style.
Some of these stories were sad/touching, some were funny, most were both but all left me wanting more. Just a warning these aren’t happy stories but they are good stories I would recommend this for southern fiction lovers.
I listened to this one on audio narrated by, Lorna Raver wh
...more
Jay
Nov 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
I've listened to other Baily White stories on audio, as well as other similar authors, and I really liked the other books. This collection just didn't keep my interest as well as other humorous stories. I'd call these short stories Southern "depression" fiction. I say depression both because many of the stories reminisce about depression times, and most are depressing. Not the humor of her earlier stories. Not the kind of mood I'd expect in a "holiday" collection, either. Come to think of it, I ...more
Karen Walker
Dec 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I am disappointed that the short stories are not holiday stories. The handful that do mention the fall/winter holidays only do so tangentially. Those in charge of packaging/marketing pulled a fast one.

The stories are actually about loss, death, and aging. If you go into the stories not expecting holiday stories, you'll probably enjoy them a great deal because they are well written.

The narrator of the audio version is excellent.
Emily Mellow
Dec 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas
Good stories, but all kind of sad in the end. I was hoping for more Christmas themed stories, since it says stories for the holidays, but apparently this is a collection of stories that have been read over the years at Thanksgiving. There is only one story where they actually have a Thanksgiving meal. The rest are just stories of people, and they do make you appreciate your own people, which I guess is the point. I did enjoy them, but I so like a happy ending.
David Ward
Jan 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, non-fiction
Nothing With Strings: NPR's Beloved Holiday Stories by Bailey White (Scribner 2008) (818.0). For several years, Bailey White has annually delivered a new holiday story on NPR's “All Things Considered.” For the first time, these stories are published as a collection. These are great holiday tales! My rating: 7/10, finished 2010.
Janet
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2009
Collection of White's annual Thanksgiving stories for NPR. They're lovely on the page, too. I didn't notice the Thanksgiving connection until I read the book flap, after finishing the book. I just gulped them down as lovely short stories, not noticing that Thanksgiving is mentioned in a few of them.
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Play Book Tag: Nothing With Strings - White- 4 stars 1 11 Nov 21, 2018 11:58AM  

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Bailey White was born in 1950 in Thomasville, Ga. She still lives in the same house in which she grew up, on one of the large tracts of virgin longleaf pine woods. Her father, Robb White, was a fiction writer and later a television and movie script writer. Her mother, Rosalie White, was a farmer, and worked for many years as the executive director of the local Red Cross Chapter. She has one brothe ...more