Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Reading E.B. White
Reading E.B White, it's hard to believe that at one time the world used to consume the written word in more than just the massive novel, the thin People article, and the tweet. There was once a time when insight could come in bites--a paragraph or two. And at one time we had a host of writers who could write insight with just 150 words or less, just as they could write with 150,000.
White wrote for the New Yorker for years, and only the other day did I discover that his works from the New Yorker had been compiled into a book. All those little insights add up to something to marvel at, even if they aren't as respected or read as his novels, Charlotte's Web and Trumpet of the Swan--a book I loved more than any other growing up.
He was a lot like Hemingway in his love for nature, though White seemed to have lived a far healthier life. He lived into his eighties, and I saw nothing in his biographies regarding mental illness like Hemingway's. White has the look, too: the twentieth century manly man look. Like Steinbeck.
It sometimes bothers me that I read so many male authors whereas there are less female authors. Then I think of the book series that got me into reading--Harry Potter--and become less concerned. My obsessions change from year to year. One day my to reading list will be filled with the names of women. Literature is sexless when you get down to it. So many authors don't even offer their names.