Every so often I come across a book that’s 10, 20, or 67 years old that somehow I’ve never read. Invariably it’ll be great, and I’ll want to tell people about it. But I’ll look like an idiot because everyone else read the book 10 years ago.
Well, at the risk of sounding out of touch, let me recommend a work about 30 years old, written in part by one Rebecca M. Dale. Dale spent some years compiling a “best of,” so to speak, of the writings of E.B. White, presenting them in book form. Each of the pieces appeared originally in The New Yorker, ranging from the ’20s (making them nearly 100 years old!) to the ’60s. The book is called E.B. White: Writings from The New Yorker 1925-1976. (If you’re still scratching your head about E.B. White… ever hear of Charlotte’s Web? Yes? How about Strunk and White? Well, he’s White.)
The thing I love about the book is that it’s basically a blog, decades before anyone knew what a blog was. Even Dale’s presentation predates the “blog” format as we know it now.
More than looking and sounding like a blog, it sounds like this blog. Most of the pieces are simply a paragraph or two of thought-provoking pith. (Along with a word or a reference you have to look up.) Generally the last line is some version of a stinger, an amusing line probably referencing the title.
In short, I recommend this book.