Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Andy and Roger

If I had to name my favorite author it would probably be E.B. White, so I was excited to learn that Melissa Sweet had published a biography about this wonderful man, appropriately entitled Some Writer!. I finally finished savoring it last week, and was thrilled to find that Some Writer! was everything I had hoped for, and maybe even a bit more. Sweet combines her well-written text with detailed illustrations for a book that conveys the life of E.B. White in a way that I like to think E.B. White (called Andy by his friends) might have approved of. This is a tribute to his life, starting with his childhood, a terrible incident with a Longfellow poem, growing up in Westchester County, attending Cornell and meeting William Strunk, his years at The New Yorker, and on to the writing of his children's books. Sweet's illustrations are incredibly gorgeous watercolor and collage creations, inviting the reader to put aside the text for long moments spent investigating and appreciating her art.


She has also illustrated several other children's biographies, including The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus and A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams. I've added these to my list with eager anticipation.


I thought I knew E.B. White's children's books well, but I learned quite a bit, and especially appreciated Sweet's inclusion of White's drafts of Charlotte's Web. This book is aimed at an 8-12 year old audience, but that should not stop adults from reading it. Anyone who has loved White's words will also love Some Writer!. 

It turns out that White's stepson, Roger Angell, is also a pretty darn good writer. During a rainy afternoon spent discussing books and the world with a dear friend, she went to her book shelf, pulled out Let Me Finish, and told me that if I liked E.B. White, I would also enjoy Roger Angell's writing. She was right. He is an essayist, known for his writing on baseball, and a senior editor and staff writer who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1944. He is still writing, so I look for his essays, and was gratified to read his most recent one about the Women's March.

I have always been  amazed by how White's personal recountings of his daily life, thoughts, and words could be so applicable to me, a woman living her life 70 plus years later. I think he can express my feelings better than I can, and it turns out that Roger Angell also has that incredible ability. Me too, Roger.


10 comments:

  1. It sounds wonderful, I'm going to check and see if the library has it. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  2. now I want to read Charlotte's web and Trumpet of the swans :) Lovely review!

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  3. Wonderful! Another bright spot . . . XO

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  4. Oh I need to look for this one!

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  5. Oooh! I need to find this book as well! I adore E.B. White!

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  6. I love William Carlos Williams poetry. Thank you for the link to his book.I've heard E. B. White interview (I'm not sure where, but it may have been the New Yorker Radio Hour, which is another MUST listen podcast.) Your posts on books fill my TBR list with great titles.

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  7. You've piqued my interest. I've got to jumpstart my 2017 reading...it's abominable! (And nooooo...of course it doesn't have anything to do with one Lorelai Gilmore!)

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  8. I love EB White so I have Some Writer! on my TBR list. I think it would be enjoyable to re-read Charlotte's Web too.

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  9. ...and Roger writes about baseball!! Thank you for your review(s) - I'm looking forward to Some Writer and checking out Roger (man, too much to read these days! ... a good problem to have but still...)

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  10. Thank you! I enjoyed reading Roger Angell's essay about the Women's March. And also for some new (and old) books to consider adding to my list!!

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