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1. Thurber: Writings and Drawings
2. My Life and Hard Times (Perennial
3. The Thurber Carnival (Perennial
4. The Thurber Letters: The Wit,
5. Fables for Our Time and Famous
6. Is Sex Necessary?: Or Why You
7. The Wonderful O (Childrens Collection)
8. The 13 Clocks (Childrens Collection)
9. The Last Flower: A Parablein Pictures
10. Many Moons (A Harcourt Brace contemporary
11. My World-and Welcome to It (Harvest
12. James Thurber: 92 Stories
13. Selected Shorts: Timeless Classics
14. People Have More Fun Than Anybody:
15. The Dog Department: James Thurber
16. The works of James Thurber: Complete
17. The White Deer
18. Thurber's Dogs
19. The Years with Ross (Perennial
20. Alarms And Diversions

1. Thurber: Writings and Drawings (Library of America)
by James Thurber
Hardcover: 1004 Pages (1996-10-01)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$23.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1883011221
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," "The Catbird Seat," The Last Flower, Fables for Our Time, The Thirteen Clocks, My Life and Hard Times, and other stories are included along with much of Thurber's cartoon collection.Amazon.com Review
The shy Midwesterner James Thurber became a famed cartoonist andhumor writer almost, it seems, by accident: Thurber in person was oftendepressed and self-conscious, darker strains that emerge fitfully in his sly,absurdist work. Garrison Keillor, a sunnier brand of Midwestern humorist, hasassembled four longer works with many of Thurber's drawings and short piecesfor the Library of America edition of Thurber's selected works. Many of thesecartoons and writings are now classics, and Thurber's edgy, modernisthumor--not to mention his usually bewildered protagonists--has influencedmany of the best cartoonists today. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars overrated
i bought it because keith olberman read a few stories out of it.i read a few on my own.its no big deal.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Compendium
I have several older volumes of Thurber's writings but when Keith Olbermann began reading Thurber on Fridays I noticed he had this book in hand.That was what prompted me to order it, and it is a welcome addition to my library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great author, great series
I have to thank Keith Olbermann for his Friday readings of Thurber on his Countdown program. He got me hooked.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thurber Rocks
Splendid collection of James Thurber stories and drawings. Extremely funny! Makes one glad to be alive.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Old Thurber!
Garrison Keillor has done a fine job of collecting some of the best Thurber pieces in one book. When I was in high school, Thurber was one of the New Yorker writer gang whose work convinced me that it would a good idea for me to leave an Iowa farm and experience what was going on in the outside world. I did. ... Read more

2. My Life and Hard Times (Perennial Classics)
by James Thurber
Paperback: 86 Pages (1999-10-01)
list price: US$11.99 -- used & new: US$6.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060933089
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Widely hailed as one of the finest humorist of the twentieth century, James Thurber looks back at his own life growing up in Columbus, Ohio, with the same humor and sharp wit that defined his famous sketches and writings. In My Life and Hard times, first published in 1933, he recounts the delightful chaos and frustrations of family, boyhood, youth odd dogs, recalcitrant machinery, and the foibles of human nature.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is one of my all time favorite books
I bought this as a replacement for my +20 year old copy.Thurber, like Mark Twain, is one of America's premier humorists.Hie descriptions of hie family and dogs capture their memorable and very individual beliefs and activities.This is not an autobiography that includes world events but captures the small everyday events of growing up as James Thurber.His is a world peopled by an aunt who throws shoes at imaginary burglars, a dog that bites the family but ignores mice and a grandmother who fears electricity leaking from empty sockets.Thurber never wastes a word and his drawings are unique to him.I re-read this book on a regular basis and it always makes me smile.

4-0 out of 5 stars Spending a Little Time in the Past
A very entertaining read; recalling a simpler time, even though most readers will have been born long after the times these short stories recall. Thurber is a master with the written word, painting details of his memories so that even younger readers will be transported back to these magical times and places. The author describes incredible characters and impossible events, yet as the page reveals them, they come to life in believeable and full life form.

My Life and Hard Times (Perennial Classics) Highly recommended for the busy reader, who is forced to read in short, interrupted spurts of time. The reader will easily pick up the entertaining stories even after having left them for days.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice
A great book by an honest-to-God American -- competitively priced, securely packed, and quickly shipped.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just so funny
This book, short as it was, I thoroughly enjoyed. When reading On Writing Well, Zinsser discusses how talented of a writer James Thurber is, especially at humor. Of course, I had read "The Night the Bed Fell Down" during school, but I hadn't ever read the entire memoir. Having read it, I can wholeheartedly agree that James Thurber has an amazing talent for writing well and for writing humorously.

Several moments while reading I had to stop, simply because I was laughing too hard to continue. The images that he creates--of his father, spooked as he and his brother wake him in the middle of the night, seemingly rambling nonsense; of the dog, biting everyone around him; of that bed that "fell" creating chaos in the dead of night--they resonate and stay with you even after the story has finished.

Along the same lines, just like Zinsser discusses in his book, Thurber stops his own memoir at the right moment, leaving the modern time, memories not yet faded and smoothed by the passage of time, out of this memoir. He is not so vain that he wants to explain everything in his life. Instead, Thurber would rather keep the reader entertained and recognizes that if he dredges up the recent past he could not write about it in as light-hearted of a fashion.

Even with this book alone, Thurber firmly seats himself in my mind as a great humorist and a talented writer. It makes me rather anxious to read his other works, definitely a sign of a great writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Floods, cars and things that go bump in the night
When James Thurber published this "memoir" in 1933, he was 39 and had yet to many of the stories and works for which he is remembered today.In his preface, he acknowledges that the sages say that autobiography should be undertaken after a lifetime of experience and to shed light on an earlier time, but he was going to take a go at it anyway, sharing episodes from his passage from adolescence into young manhood, a sunny time full of his family's escapades in Columbus, Ohio from 1913 - 1918.I grew up laughing over the Thurber stories and cartoons but had never cracked this until now, and find it possibly funnier than much of the work on which he staked his reputation as one of America's chief humorists of the 20th century.David Sedaris had to be influenced by Thurber; and looking at his illustrations, I have to wonder if artist Keith Haring was as well.

Each of the nine chapters in the book focuses on a single event or theme.Things tended to get out of hand rather easily at the Thurber household, what with a grandfather with dementia, a prankster younger brother, various relatives with numerous tics and phobias, a father who amicably tried to step aside the fray and his mother whose misinterpretations of sounds, words and events were like so much oxygen for a fire.A lot ofmisadventures happen at night.And it isn't just the Thurber clan; all of Columbus gets in on the act, and eventually, the US draft board that could never recall from day to day throughout the war years that it rejected Thurber for bad eyesight.I probably could have finished the book sooner were it not for having to stop periodically and clear the tears of laughter that obscured the page.Not only is it funny, it is a rare glimpse into middle-class life in a small Midwestern city as America itself was moving from adolescence into young adulthood.

John Hutchens' introduction to the original paperback reissue was written shortly before Thurber's death.It is respectful and non-spoiling.I read a crumbling Bantam paperback edition circa 1963 and wish I'd read this version with Russell Baker's afterword and other historical notes.It could only enhance the entire experience. ... Read more

3. The Thurber Carnival (Perennial Classics)
by James Thurber
Paperback: 448 Pages (1999-10-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$8.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060932872
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

James Thurber's unique ability to convey the vagaries of life in a funny, witty, and often satirical way earned him accolades as one of the finest humorists of the twentieth century. A bestseller upon its initial publication in 1945. The Thurber Carnivalcaptures the depth and breadth of his talent. The pieces here, almost all of which first appeared in The New Yorker, include selections from such beloved classics as My World and Welcome to It,The Owl in the Attic, The Seal in the Bathroom, and Men, Women and Dogs. Thurber's take on life, society, and human nature is timeless and will continue to delight readers even as they recognize a bit of themselves in his brilliant sketches.

Amazon.com Review
After the chuckles and amidst the chortles, the first-time reader of TheThurber Carnival is bound to utter a discreetly voiced "Huh?"LikeCracker Jacks, there are surprises inside James Thurber's delicious 1945smorgasbord of essays, stories, and sketches. This festival is, surprisesand all, a collection of earlier collections (mostly), including, amongothers, gems from My World--and Welcome to It, Let Your MindAlone!, and The Middle Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze. Needlessto say, there are also numerous cartoons that, by themselves, are worth theprice of admission. While redoubling Thurber's deserved reputation as alaugh-out-loud humorist and teller-of-gentle-tales, it reintroduces him asa thinker-of-thoughts. To wit: his 1933 "Preface to a Life," in which heobserves himself while discussing "writers of light pieces running from athousand to two thousand words":
To call such persons "humorists," a loose-fitting and ugly word, is to missthe nature of their dilemma and the dilemma of their nature.The littlewheels of their invention are set in motion by the damp hand of melancholy.
Enjoy the surprises, certainly, but revel in the candy-coated popcorn andpeanuts.As in "More Alarms at Night," in which a teenaged Thurberintrudes upon his sleeping father, a skittish man named Charles, because hecan't recall the name Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Coincidentally, hisfather has just been frightened half to death by Thurber's brother, who hadearlier stalked into his room saying coldly, "Buck, your time has come."
"Listen," I said. "Name some towns in New Jersey quick!" It must have beenaround three in the morning.Father got up, keeping the bed between himand me, and started to pull his trousers on. "Don't bother about dressing,"I said. "Just name some towns in New Jersey." While he hastily pulled onhis clothes--I remember he left his socks off and put his shoes on his barefeet--father began to name, in a shaky voice, various New Jersey cities. Ican still see him reaching for his coat without taking his eyes off me."Newark," he said, "Jersey City, Atlantic City, Elizabeth, Paterson,Passaic, Trenton, Jersey City, Trenton, Paterson--" "It has two names," Isnapped. "Elizabeth and Paterson," he said.
Of course, things turn out fine, as well they should.And why not?Thebest of Thurber, which The Thurber Carnival arguably is, is sublime;surprising insight and wry observations tossed lightly and servedconstantly with effortless good humor and an obvious love for all thingsgently eccentric. --Michael Hudson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Writing
I first came across this book in my grandparents home as a young child in the 60's, and became absolutely enthralled with it. The characterizations of these strange adults from long ago stayed with me, causing me to wonder about them, the aunt afraid electricity was leaking through the empty light sockets was one. As an adult going back they are all still there and still odd. Thurber had a keen eye for the people around him, with a marvelous manner in putting their foibles and behaviors on stage. Excellent reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Thurber - A Total Delight!
One of my all time favorite books. a great compilation of short stories gleaned from several collections that can be enjoyed again and again. My favorites include the classic The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, If Grant Had Been Drinking At Appomattox, the Night the Bed Fell and A Sequence of Servants. This delightful tome includes original illustrations of some classic poems (Excelsior and Barbara Frietchie, et al) as well as a collection of original Thurber cartoons.

5-0 out of 5 stars outstanding American humor and fiction
The Thurber Carnival is an excellent collection of short fiction, essays and drawings by the late great master of American fiction. Included are such gems as the original Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I thoroughly enjoyed these stories - I think I preferred the fiction to the cartoons near the end (many of which if not all appeared in the New Yorker) but those did not disappoint either.

Thurber's eclectic mix of humor and tragedy, hope and desperation, take the reader easily and wholly into his stories. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars timeless humor
I remember reading all the books of his they had in the library when I was a kid--inspired by the short-running TV show "My World and Welcome to It" which was based on his work.

Amazingly, I found him just as entertaining as I did as a child. The Thurber Carnival is a hodge-podge of essays, stories, and drawings culled over several decades and from several other collections. Some are better than others, of course, and quite a few of them are very dated--unsurprisingly, since the book was originally published in 1945, and compiled at that time from earlier sources.

It doesn't really seem to matter. Even though I can't really relate to the early days of the automobile, it didn't stop me from laughing aloud at "Recollections of a Gas Buggy." Human nature hasn't changed all that much in the past 60 or 70 years.

There are quite a few classic stories in here, including "The Catbird Seat," which is a delicious story of revenge, and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," which I hadn't even realized was Thurber's.

His drawings are just as entertaining, which is even more startling after reading in the biography what poor eyesight he had. With just a few lines, he manages to do the same thing he does in the stories and essays with just a few words.

Most of the humor has to do with human nature--specifically, with the way people communicate, or don't. One of the best (i.e. most hilarious) examples is "What Do You Mean It Was Brillig?" in which he lampoons both his housekeeper's accent and his own misunderstanding of and reaction to it. There's also a darkly humorous story, "The Breaking Up of the Winships," about a couple who divorces over a disagreement about Greta Garbo. Change a few minor details, and these stories are as true today as they were when they were written.

I'm really happy I bought this. Not only was it wonderfully nostalgic, and still entertaining today, but I've got this lovely book of very funny, very short pieces that are easy to share with my family. I don't even begrudge the 3 days it took me to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book is timeless
Actually, I purchased "The Thurber Carnival" for a friend who used to raised bloodhounds and who has a great sense of humor. Very shortly after I sent it to him, he called to say that he had read it from cover to cover, enjoying it immensely, getting many laughs, and loving the sketches of bloodhounds (altered somewhat). My father loved James Thurber and collected many of his books, including this one. Its stories are timeless, and I was fortunate to have found a hardcover copy in such excellent condition! ... Read more

4. The Thurber Letters: The Wit, Wisdom and Surprising Life of James Thurber
Hardcover: 816 Pages (2003-07-22)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$37.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743223438
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Though he died more than forty years ago, James Thurber remains one of America's greatest and most enduring humorists, and his books -- for both adults and children -- remain as popular as ever. In this comprehensive collection of his letters -- the majority of which have never before been published -- we find unsuspected insights into his life and career.

His prodigious body of work -- fables, drawings, comic essays, reportage, short stories, including his famous "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" -- all define Thurber's special and prolific genius. Like most good humorists, he was prone to exaggeration, embellishment, and good-natured self-deprecation. In his letters we find startling revelations about who he really was, and why the prism through which he viewed the world could often be both painfully and delightfully distorting.

For the first time, Thurber's daughter Rosemary has allowed the publication of many of the extremely personal letters he wrote early in his life to the women he was -- usually hopelessly -- in love with, as well as the affectionate and hilarious letters that he wrote to her. In addition, Harrison Kinney, noted Thurber biographer, has located a number of Thurber letters never before published. The Thurber Letters traces Thurber's progress from lovesick college boy to code clerk with the State Department in Paris and reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, through his marriages and love affairs, his special relationship with his daughter, his illustrious and tumultuous years with The New Yorker, his longstanding relationship with E. B. White, his close friendship with Peter De Vries, and his tragic last days. Included in the book are Thurber drawings never before published. His candid comments in these personal letters, whether lighthearted or melancholy, comprise an entertaining, captivating, informal biography -- pure, wonderful Thurber.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A thrill for Thurberphiles
This second published collection of letters captures Thurber's wit as well as his love and compassion for his family and his host of friends. If you love Thurber, letters, the New Yorker, dogs, or an insider's look at the world of publishing, enjoy this book. ... Read more

5. Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated
by James Thurber
Paperback: 144 Pages (1983-04-23)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$4.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060909994
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
James Thurber has been called "one of our great American institutions' (Stanley Walker), "a magnificent satirist (Boston Transcript), and "a Joyce in false-face" (New York Times). The New York Herald Tribune submits that he is "as blithe as Benchley...as savage as Swift...surprisingly wise and witty," while the Times of London, out of enthusiasm and a profound regard for truth, proclaims that "Thurber is Thurber."

In Fables for Our Time, Thurber the Moralist is in the ascendancy. Here are a score or more lessons-in-prose dedicated to conventional sinners and proving--what you will. The fables are imperishably illustrated, and are supplemented by Mr. Thurber's own pictorial interpretations of famous poems in a wonderful and joyous assemblage. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The years cannot diminish nor time betray
I first read Thurber, Fables for Our Time being my first encounter, about the time I learned to read.Fables sounded suitable for a 7 year old looking for something more than the Bobbsey Twins, so I plunged into a surreal world of misogyny, mayhem, morality and madness, and thoroughly loved it!Upon discovering our family library included some of Thurber's "children's books" (13 Clocks), I began to plumb the depths of one of the great humorists/cartoonists of the 20th century.In more than 50 years, I have not encountered one so readable, enjoyable and wildly, understatedly funny.Perhaps some of the pieces are dated, for who these days can even recognize such poems as Ben Bolt and Barbara Fretchie (?), or Young Lochinvar?That is a loss in today's education, so I charge Amazon customers:introduce your children to Thurber early, when their minds are not cluttered with pop culture and "required reading". Take the time to give them context for very old stories and poems, so they may enjoy them as we did.Let them look at a world that was, at least in one man's wit, and perhaps they won't be so overwhelmed when they begin to understand the world we have left to them.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book by a Wonderful (but sexist) Author
James Thurber has long been one of my favorite writers, but in order to enjoy him you have to look past his sexism.He includes anti-woman sentiments in nearly every book he's ever written...But please don't let this stop you from reading him.If you can get to the point where you just shake your head and think to yourself, "Oh, James, James, James... You misguided man"... Then you can fully enjoy his works.
This collection of fables is dated, I have to admit, but they're still highly entertaining and quite funny.Thurber has a way with words that is unique and entertaining.
Thurber is one of my favorite authors.His writing takes you back into his era without feeling dusty and passe.

1-0 out of 5 stars Oh no!
I had to read this in English class
and it is horrible
Don't buy it
You are wasting your money

5-0 out of 5 stars "early to rise and early to bed...
...makes a man healthy, wealthy and dead."

Quoting one of the fables; I remember reading this book thirty years ago.It is superb.The pictures are excellent too.I can still recall the man leaping down intothe lion's pit to get the lady's glove, also the pictures of birds(shrikes, I think).I'll buy this one right away, my daughter will loveit. ... Read more

6. Is Sex Necessary?: Or Why You Feel the Way You Do
by James Thurber, E. B. White
Paperback: 208 Pages (2004-11-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060733144
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The first book of prose published by either James Thurber or E. B. White, Is Sex Necessary? combines the humor and genius of both authors to examine those great mysteries of life -- romance, love, and marriage. A masterpiece of drollery, this 75th Anniversary Edition stands the test of time with its sidesplitting spoof of men, women, and psychologists; more than fifty funny illustrations by Thurber; and a new foreword by John Updike. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars The best idea in a long time.
The book is a cute idea and a great parody of 'professional' sex ed books that came out around the mid to late 1920's.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic White & Thurber
A parody in classic vaudevillian style of the (then) newly emergent do-it-yourself psychology books. Thurber's drawing on p. 52 (Queen's House edition, 1978) with its accompanying text "This peculiar posture was discovered by Dr. Titbridge in a patient who for thirty years, boy and man, had been unable to tell love from passion and who allowed it to prey on his mind. Drawing from the Titbridge collection of American male postures." is, by itself, worth the price.

4-0 out of 5 stars I Believe Their Answer Is Ehhhhhhh...
Mr. Thurber and Mr. White wrote a very amusing and rich satire on this basic of human conditions. In John Updike's foreword, he is correct in stating that this little gem of a book is quite phallocratic in its assumptions and has misogynistic tendencies. It was created all in good fun by two men in their early thirties and should be viewed as a product of its times (1929). This is very tame stuff in relation to present-day material, but still worth your time if you enjoy witty, nonsensical compositions. There's a good reason this baby is still kicking around eight decades after its initial publication. The book is a quick, light read by two pros.

5-0 out of 5 stars A conversation starter
There's no need to actually read this book if you're a male.

Simply carry it around, and you will find yourself approached by a wide variety of women who are amused and perhaps a bit threatened by the title.

Many of them will be interested in showing you the positive response to the question posed by the book's title.

It's quite astonishing, really. You have to try it to believe the results. Good luck.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ahhh... the sexual revolution--30 years early!
You've probably heard of E.B. White--he wrote "Charlotte's Web" after all, quite possibly still required reading in many middle schools (as a lead-in to 2pac Shakur's poetry, I'm sure).James Thurber may be a bit more obscure to some of you, but he was an Ohio State alumnus (go Buckeyes! *cough*), an awesome cartoonist/artist, and an author possessed of a wonderfully ascerbic wit.

The combination of the two in this book is a rather uniquely bizarre experience that I found joyously uplifting.

The subject under discussion is indeed, in a rather obscure and indirect sense, sex.But we never *quite* seem to get there; non sequiturs abound, blank pages, discussions of how to avoid sex, bluebirds, flowers, a section on how children should explain sex to adults, and even a "letters from readers" chapter--but no actual sex.Lots of drawings, but nothing that anyone might find helpful for improving their sex life.(Bowling, yes.Bicycling, definitely.Obscure interpretations of unconscious artwork, absolutely.Sex, no.)

This book wasn't so much a reaction to Freud per se as it was to the wacky influx of psychologists and "sexologists", and their (unfortunately for us, entirely successful) attempts to complexify and obfuscate human behavior.This particular brand of snake oil started in the 20s and hasn't stopped flowing, and we're covered in an ever-growing deluge of how-to relationship manuals, self-help books, and other ludicrous efforts at explaining "the human condition".

White and Thurber's work explains, in the main, nothing.It asks more questions than it answers.The humor is dry and obscure, there are a ton of rather dated references, and if you're under 30 you'll probably need a dictionary.But...

if you need a laugh without a laugh track... you're fed up with "self-help" and "Men are from Saturn, Women are from Liverpool" type books... or you happen to think sex is vastly overrated (it is), give "Is Sex Necessary?" a try.You might be surprised at the answer. ... Read more

7. The Wonderful O (Childrens Collection)
by James Thurber
Hardcover: 80 Pages (2009-03-31)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1590173090
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Black and Littlejack are bad men. Littlejack has a map that indicates the existence of a treasure on a far and lonely island. He needs a ship to get there. Black has a ship. So they team up and sail off on Black’s vessel, the Aeiu. “A weird uncanny name,” remarks Littlejack, “like a nightbird screaming.” Black explains that it’s all the vowels except for O. O he hates since his mother got wedged in a porthole. They couldn’t pull her in so they had to push her out.

Black and Littlejack arrive at the port of the far and lonely island and demand the treasure. No one knows anything about it, so they have their henchmen ransack the place—to no avail. But Black has a better idea: he will take over the island and he will purge it of O.

The vicissitudes visited on the islanders by Black and Littlejack, the harsh limits of a life sans O (where shoe is she and woe is we), and how finally with a little luck and lots of pluck the islanders shake off their tyrannical interlopers and discover the true treasure for themselves (Oh yes—and get back their O’s)—these are only some of the surprises that await readers of James Thurber’s timelessly zany fairy tale about two louts who try to lock up the language—and lose.  ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Captain Black and the Death of "O"
The Wonderful O, by long time New Yorker magazine writer James Thurber (1894-1961), was published over 50 years ago (1957), and the fingers of history leave smudges on the pages of this fanciful tale of a violent and dictatorial Captain Black and his partner Littlejack wreaking havoc when they outlaw all things "O".

The story line is relatively straightforward:In search of jewels, Black and Littlejack, backed by a pirate ship crewed by violence-prone henchmen, take over the government of an island.Black, whose mother was once stuck in a porthole, has what would almost certainly be dubbed PTAD (Post-traumatic Alphabetical Disorder) today, and hates all things with the letter "O".He bans the letter, and even bans objects that contain the letter O.By teaming up with a lawyer (Hyde), legal decisions blunt some of the more disastrous potential effects of the new edicts. Cows, for example, do not need to be eliminated if they are referred to as cattle; geese are okay as long as an individual doesn't leave the flock (becoming a goose).

The Wonderful O is an adult parable rather than a children's book, though it is included in the New York Review Children's Collection.The complexity of the language and themes would challenge the great majority of children who read The Wonderful O, and the targets of Thurber's writing would likely remain opaque to them.What are those targets?First, a brief refresher of the mid-fifties.

When the Wonderful O was written, the national consciousness was still tuned acutely to war, specifically the memory of WW II and the Korean conflict.Joe McCarthy had finally been reined in only two or three years earlier, and though his rabid anti-Communism rants had lost credibility, the Cold War was in full ascendancy.The evils of totalitarianism, and the past brutalities of Stalin and Hitler were fresh in people's minds; Mao Zedong was well on his way to the excesses of power that would eventually kill over 70 million Chinese.Memories of collaborators that aided the Nazi occupation of France were still fresh.The excesses of dictatorial power that the free world witnessed were no less capricious, but considerably more tragic, than eliminating all things "O" from the world.Consciousness of what had already occurred, and fear of what might still happen, provided Thurber with virtually all of the warp, and a good part of the weave, in his literary tapestry about the letter O.

The resistance to evil, a prophetess-like figure named Andrea tells those with the courage to resist Black and Littlejack, revolves around four "O" words: Love, Hope, Valor, and.....you'll have to read the book to find out!Citizens on the island occupied by Black and LIttlejack respond the way the citizens of France did when Hitler invaded, ranging from full cooperation with the tyrants to heroic resistance. Thurber's portrayal of the family and social choices that people must make in the face of tyranny is uncomfortably accurate.

Retrospectively, it's interesting that the word valor is specifically chosen over wisdom; one of Thurber's characters refers to the word wisdom as "too weak".It is also interesting to note that when the fourth "O" word is finally revealed, it turns out to be one that has been bandied about like a rugby ball for the last eight to nine years, often by those most abusive of it.

For those previously unfamiliar with Thurber's work (that would include me), his writing style is amazingly witty, and (appropriate for a friend of E.B. White) grammatically perfect, a combination of qualities that is a joy to experience.

One wonders, were Thurber alive today, if after the Vietnam War, the first and second Gulf Wars, and the current struggle in Afghanistan, he would still be willing to choose valor over wisdom as one of the four antidotal words to oppression.One wonders also if the fourth antidotal word, unnamed until late in the book, has been bludgeoned into triteness by overuse.One will never wonder, though, how Thurber would feel about impositions on one of our most important American rights:that of free speech.Captain Black and Littlejack run seriously aground when they mess with natural law in the Universe of Thurber, specifically the law that allows free, unrestricted, and creative use of language.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clever
I don't know what age this book is written for. The language is a bit difficult and the concept of the pirate who hates the letter O and gets rid of everything with that letter. It is funny and clever. It took me a while to figure out how to read it with all the "O"s missing. My 4 year old is a ways from being able to stick with this book. But it's so unique and clever I am keeping it for him to read when he IS old enough. When I read the info before I purchased it it said something about big words. My boy loves to learn big new words. Just not so many at one time. I did read the first chapter to him and days later he was thinking about the concept of no more O. So it intrigued him even if it is a bit difficult. There are a few illustrations.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Child's Eye View
"The Wonderful O " is a very clever story with fun and adventure.It is a gripping novel that you don't want to put down because you really want to find out what happens next.
By The Frog Girl of Fremantle (aged 11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Chas and cnfusin reign supreme
"The Wonderful O" is a delightful book for our younger readers about a dastardly group of pirates who invade the island of Ooroo looking for treasure.Oh wow, with a name like Ooroo, this place is just asking for trouble.Seems that Black, the pirate chief, hates the letter O, because when he was a child his mother got stuck in a porthole, and he couldn't pull her in, so he had to push her out.Poor Moms.And now Black is about to consolidate his capture and takeover of Ooroo by banishing from speech and print every word and name which contains the letter O.So how are we to pronounce Ooroo?Or Otto Ott, whose name comes out sounding like a terminal stutter?Or consider the case of poor Ophelia Oliver, who, when she lost her O's, vanished from the haunts of men.

Thurber has written a hilarious book showing the pure chas and cnfusin that reign when the language is stripped of its O's.How can you tell a cat from a cat?Or a bat from a bat?Strip the O from the language and we will all be indeed bgne and webegne.Not to mention losing words like hope, love, valor, and the greatest of all, freedom.

Black may have stripped the language of all its O's but he can't break the people's spirit, and eventually he and his crew hoist anchor and sail away into the sunset, leaving the people and their island with all their O's intact.Kids will love this book for the hilarious play on words, as well as for the message it gets across.A wonderful bk (oops, I mean book) for youngsters and oldsters alike.How could there be youngsters, or oldsters, or books, if there weren't any O?

5-0 out of 5 stars N__h!What are we t_ d_?
...THE WONDERFUL O is a charming book. It's full of wit, wisdom, and social commentary. It's a great story and plays around with the English language in a most interesting way. This is a book that appeals to both adults and children and would also work well as a text in an upper elementary English class. It's a great book. Oh, yeah. Has anyone seen BRAVEHEART? There's a connection between the two. ... Read more

8. The 13 Clocks (Childrens Collection)
by James Thurber
Hardcover: 128 Pages (2008-07-29)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1590172752
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Once upon a time, in a gloomy castle on a lonely hill, where there were thirteen clocks that wouldn’t go, there lived a cold, aggressive Duke, and his niece, the Princess Saralinda. She was warm in every wind and weather, but he was always cold. His hands were as cold as his smile, and almost as cold as his heart. He wore gloves when he was asleep, and he wore gloves when he was awake, which made it difficult for him to pick up pins or coins or the kernels of nuts, or to tear the wings from nightingales.

So begins James Thurber’s sublimely revamped fairy tale, The 13 Clocks, in which a wicked Duke who imagineshe has killed time, and the Duke’s beautiful niece, for whom time seems to have runout, both meet their match, courtesy of an enterprising and very handsome prince in disguise. Readers young and old will take pleasure in this tale of love forestalled but ultimately fulfilled, admiring itsupstanding hero (”He yearned to find in a far land the princess of his dreams, singing as he went, and possibly slaying a dragon here and there”) and unapologetic villain (”We all have flaws,” the Duke said. “Mine is being wicked”), while wondering atthe enigmatic Golux, the mysterious stranger whose unpredictable interventions speed the story to its necessarily happy end. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (61)

3-0 out of 5 stars Courtship like CLockwork?
I was introduced to this marvelous fantasy in junior high and despite the passing of decades and the reading of hundreds of Young Adult books and dozens of Children's Classics I still recall this tale with fondness. Known for his droll and irreverent Midwestern sense of humor Thurber is generally known for his outrageous short stories like, "The Night the Bed Fell" and "The Night the Ghost Got In,"the Ohio journalist let out all the literary stops when he took pen in hand (or was it just an old Royal typewriter?) to decant a fairy tale of 50's vintage.

Also a pen and ink artist, whose spare cartoons are more charica- tures of people and animals, Thurber easily captured the traditional elements of a fairy tale: a beautiful princess, her evil guardian who fiendishly discourages all suitors with impossible quests, a prince with an unusual name, and a "pet" monster whose loyalty is casual at best.

But it is Thurber's use/invention of Words which boggles readers of all ages; his vocabulary is from out of this galaxy and his descriptive expressions are beyond creative--brainchildren of his darkly satirical genius.Today's young readers--trained in video games of fantasy--are remarkably resilient, and will handle the physical violence verbally unscathed. Gleep! Is that the ubiquitous Todal slurking off in disregust, because the 13 clocks risk being ungefrozen as a result of human happiness? This short book should be considered a kids' klassik--no shame to adults who rejoice in their inner kiddom.

5-0 out of 5 stars "And he ate only pops that were lolly."
Many "modern" writers seem to miss the mark, (because the mark is not themselves;)...[even if they are named "Mark"];)). Somehow, attempts at a modern faiy tale by more modern writers would seem frivolous or contrived. One can tell that Thurber has been properly informed by literary tradition, as explained by T.S. Eliot in his essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent." Writers can do nothing on their own, cut away from tradition, and purely as individuals. This is the flaw of much of our modern writers who have not read the classics and merely focus on themselves.

13 Clocks is witty and non-chalantly sarcastic. It is down to earth enough to be a fairy tale, a real fairy tale.

There is, in a sense, a sense of Odysseus in Circe's forest at one point and another, a Shakespearean minstrel, and a bit of old Disney, with prose that combines Dr. Seuss and The Brothers Grimm.

This book would make a clever gift for a clever child.

5-0 out of 5 stars A favorite from my childhood
I found this book in my school library in 5th grade, and it is one of the few books from my childhood that I never forgot. Admittedly, it has some dark scenes, and I remember it giving me chills when I read it as a kid. But it's also beautifully written, with funny and memorable scenes. I was so thrilled to "rediscover" this book as an adult and to find it was just as magical 20 years later.

4-0 out of 5 stars This fairy tale is not for kids
The 13 Clocks is a wonderful and witty story, but on rereading it I realize that it contains so much physical violence that it hardly qualifies as a children's book. Very enjoyable, like most of Thurber's works, but you wouldn't read it to a six-year old.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quite Possibly the Best Book Ever Written
I wish I'd found this book long before I was 53 years old, but I am having a wonderful time reading it with my son. I own a book store and I'm going to be hand-selling this like mad, to kids who think that Harry Potter is literature.

I am also a writer, and the writing is literally amazing. Reading it aloud is the most fun I've had in a long time. I was really unhappy that my son fell asleep, I wanted to keep reading it aloud to myself. (I did finish the chapter while he snored.)

I agree with the man who wrote the introduction, and other reviewers here. This may well be the best book ever written. It is definitely my new baby shower and birthday party gift. It's an absolute treasure.

I wish I could give it more than five stars. ... Read more

9. The Last Flower: A Parablein Pictures
by James Thurber
Hardcover: 112 Pages (2007-11-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1587296209
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Originally published in November 1939, two months after World War II officially began, James Thurber's parable in pictures-- a graphic novel ahead of its day--about eternal cycles of war, peace, love, and the resilience of one little flower remains as relevant today as it was then. The New York Times called it "at once one of the most serious and one of the most hilarious contributions on war."
    Civilization has collapsed  after World War XII, dogs have deserted their masters, all the groves and gardens have been destroyed, and love has vanished from the earth. Then one day, "a young girl who had never seen a flower chanced to come upon the last one in the world." Written among the sorrow and chaos of war, dedicated to this only child " in the wistful hope that her world will be better than mine." The new printing will feature new scans of Thurber's original 1939 drawings.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Disappointment and shock.
Definetely, a great Anti-War book. But I was shocked to read some fo the comments on the cover of the book made by well respected, newspaper people, referring to this great, sad, very sad and truthful book, as "witty and hilarious"; "one of the funniest books of the year"; "mostoriginal and humorous writer living". There is not one, not even one funny thing in this book, but horror and tragedy and misery and darkness, all men made maladies being repeated over and over and over again. Nothing funny about it. I find it hard to believe that the writer, who was sensitive enough to write this great book, actually agreed to have such despicable comments about his book to be printed on his great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Last Flower
This is a wonderful book--one of Thurber's best.It contains one of his cartoons on every page, along with a parable about the foolishness of man, despair, and hope.My children love it, too.

5-0 out of 5 stars I REMEMBER THE LAST FLOWER
I have wanted to get this book for many years now.I read it while going to college.It is a story that has been in my memory for a very long time.It was a shock for me to see (after I read it) that it is much longer than I remember it to be, even though it is short as books go.It is a sad story.Let's hope that things don't work out the way that Mr. Thurber tells us they will.But maybe that's the whole idea: for us to read THE LAST FLOWER, then make sure that its ending doesn't happen.So, everyone, buy the book, and you can help out.

5-0 out of 5 stars More Relevant NowThan Ever
This treasure of humanity was practically a Bible and also a constant "coffee table" book in our household when I was growing up in the late 50's and 60's. This is one of those rarest of books that will simultaneously break your heart and make your spirit soar. It only offers (see Thurber's dedication to his daughter) "a wistful hope" - but it will inspire you to nurture every ounce of genuine hopefulness you can muster.

5-0 out of 5 stars #1 book of all time
This book had the most impact on my 1940s and '50s childhood.I grew up with it, looked at it time after time, pondered it, felt it.Who said "A picture speaks a thousand words"?James Thurber had a wonderful silent way of reaching the heart.I recommend this book to all parents with children, and to all grown-ups.Of everything I have ever read or seen, this is my #1 book of all time!Please have it out on your table always! ... Read more

10. Many Moons (A Harcourt Brace contemporary classic)
by James Thurber
Paperback: 48 Pages (1998-09-01)
list price: US$8.00 -- used & new: US$4.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0152018956
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Princess Lenore is ill from eating too many raspberry tarts. She believes that possessing the moon is the only thing that will cure her. Despite a command from the King, neither the Lord High Chamberlain nor the Royal Wizard nor the Royal Mathematician can get the moon for her. Only when the clever Court Jester consults the Princess herself is the problem solved--with characteristic Thurber wit. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Wisest of All
Reminding me of the Wise Fool from Shakespearean plays like King Lear, this 1944 Caldcott Medal winning proves to be a beloved children's classic with story and illustrations both elegant and refreshing.Princess Lenore who fell ill tells her father if she gets the moon, she will be well again. The King summons the wisest men in the kingdom - from royal Chamberlain to the Wizard to the mathematician - all fail the task but boast with long paragraphs about their own contributions and accomplishments.Leaping into the story with joy to comfort the old king in despair is the Court Jester who is humble and never full of himself. He listens intently to the king's hopeless situations and advises to let the princess herself tell them how to get the moon and how it should look like. The wise fool solves the king's dilemma two times through directing the problem back to the princess who seems to have perfect and beautiful answers to the impossible questions.A story to fall in love with, MANY MOONS shine on the jester, the little princess whose interactive dynamic reveals a good lesson that kids and the humble ones have the resources to work things out for the better.

4-0 out of 5 stars Some books are classics just because they've been around a long time
And some are classics because they're JUST THAT GOOD.

Many Moons is in the second one. Fully twenty years after I read it as a child, I picked it up and was able to remember the plot. That's lasting power.

This is a funny book about the difference in perceptions - who is right about the moon? - and in wisdom. It has a simple funny story on the top, but it invites a few different deeper discussions with young children. Love it :)

I will note that it's a little wordy for a picture book. You may want to save this for reading aloud to an older child, or even waiting for them to read it to themselves!

3-0 out of 5 stars A Simple, Engaging Tale
A simple but mildly engaging tale of a King who attempts to bring the moon to his sick-at-heart young daughter, the princess. The moral seems to be that smart people only tend to see the big, obvious approaches to life, whereas commoners (here it's the court jester) can better grasp the subtleties associated with outlandish wishes and have the ability to make them come true without getting mired in all the "science" of the matter. Dreams can come true everyday, it just takes a little bit of imagination and determination to see them realized. The drawings are a bit scraggly and odd -- I'm surprised Thurber didn't illustrate it himself -- but I like the way they border the text on certain pages and bring some flair to the story. Originally published in 1943.

4-0 out of 5 stars The awesomest book ever
I have read the book Many Moons many times with my sisters and I enjoy it very much. It is a story about a princess who eats too many strawberry tarts and the king sends his 3 best wise men but nothing works. Then the Court Jester comes and has a completely different idea. It is an awesome book!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Many Moons
This is a beautifully written story and was a favorite of mine when I was growing up.What one adult reviewer sees as less than exciting drawings were in fact very suggestive and interesting to me as a child--both memorable and vague enough to let me fill in details for myself.This is a book every child should be given a chance to read and love as I did. ... Read more

11. My World-and Welcome to It (Harvest Book)
by James Thurber
Paperback: 324 Pages (1969-03-19)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$12.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0156623447
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The world of Thurber is splendidly sampled in these thirty stories, sketches, and articles that range from the wildest comedy to the serious business of murder. Animal courtship, maids, Macbeth, baseball, sailing, marriage-all fall within Thurber’s scope. Drawings by the Author.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good humor.
I enjoyed this book, although it was a bit too slow for me.I'm more a Pat McManus guy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very fun to read Thurber
Thurber is always fun and funny to read. Thurber fans need to add this book to their collections.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Minor Collection by a Great American Humorist
James Thurber is justly famous as one of 20th Century America's most astute humourists--but MY WORLD AND WELCOME TO IT does not really display the author to his best advantage.Even so, it does contain a few gems that make purchase of this title necessary to Thurber fans.

The showpiece of this collection is the famous but somewhat over-rated "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," but MY WORLD also includes a number of seldom anthologized pieces that show Thurber's wit at a high-water mark, including "The Whip-Poor-Will," "A Friend to Alexander," and "The MacBeth Murder Mystery."It also includes several examples of Thurber's acid perspective on the battle of the sexes, such as "Death in the Zoo," and several memorable examples of his ability to wring laughter from the perfidies of language, such as "What Do You Mean, It 'Was' Brilling?" and "Here Lies Miss Gorby."

But the bulk of MY WORLD consists of much less focused material that Thurber casually produced for THE NEW YORKER--pieces which are mildly humorous examinations of everything from French guidebooks to 19th century copies of the English magazine PUNCH.Thurber's clever prose lends such pieces considerable charm, but they are decidedly minor works when compaired with the side-splitting classics found in other collections.Thurber fans, of course, will be delighted by most of it, but newcomers would likely be happier with such collections as A THURBER CARNIVAL.

5-0 out of 5 stars Constant Companion
This collection of short essays and stories is marvellous. I have carried it with me on every trip I have taken since I first read it. I have my grandfather's copy, which has been on a longtime loan (say, ten years...) I am fondest of the essays, which range from clever little tirades againstthe Telephone Company and the Motor Vehicle Bureau to accounts andcommentaries on Thurber's travels in France and Italy. It is really awonderful wonderful book, very funny and acute. Please read it. ... Read more

12. James Thurber: 92 Stories
by James Thurber
 Hardcover: 522 Pages (1994-06-14)
list price: US$11.99 -- used & new: US$109.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0517118866
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A massive anthology of short fiction by the ever-popular humorist, parodist, and cartoonist features ninety-two of Thurber's hilarious, offbeat stories about marriage, aging, family, and everyday life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Great Introduction to the Works of James Thurber
If you are not aware of the World of Author/Artist: James Thurber, {1894-1961}, this Wonderful Book is a Fine Place to be introduced to his Work.

This book contains all the stories from: "The Owl in the Attic", "The Middle-Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze", "Let Your Mind Alone!" and "Other More or Less Inspirational Places". His Dry Wit and sense of Humor is Timeless in an American Tradition of Great Authors such as: Mark Twain and Bill Mauldin. And with the addition of 125 cartoons from Thurber's Pen, this Book is a feast for the Eyes.

I am not going to go into great detail about the Contents of this Book, as these Pages speak for themselves quite nicely. I am a big Fan of this Man's Work and I believe anyone who buys this will enjoy it Greatly.

James Thurber; "American Original"..."92 Stories"...FOUR STARS !!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Marvelous!
Absolutely marvelous book!!!I had not expected the darkness of some of the pieces, "The Greatest Man in the World", for instance, which was made into a short video.Most were full of humor, though.Some just hilarious.The one about the math problems had me laughing so hard I couldn't see.Still laughing when I went to bed.Couldn't even describe it without cracking up.What an observer of the human condition he was.And yet.All of his stories, simply all, had downtrodden, woebegone men in them.Unhappy men.Makes me wonder about Thurber himself.

3-0 out of 5 stars You get to pick and choose.
This book is a mostly funny collection of Thurber's stories and essays. Many show off Thurber's keen insight into the foibles of human nature told in a deadpan funny way. Especially good are his stories that he creates from scratch, and his satirical stories. However I found his pieces on the English language boring and the section where he lampoons self help books to be petty and whiny. Also interesting is the glimpse you get into the culture of the 30's which you can only get by reading the daily writing of the time. In all a good book to read since it is easy to skip the parts you don't like.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mostly Great
This book is a mostly funny collection of Thurber's stories and essays.Many showoff Thurber's keen insight into the foibles of human nature told in a deadpan funny way.Especially good are his stories that he createsfrom scratch, and his satiricalstories.However I found his pieces onthe English language boring and the sectionwhere he lampoons self helpbooks to be petty and whiny.Also interesting is theglimpse you get intothe culture of the 30's which you can only get by reading thedailywriting of the time.In all a good book to read since it is easy to skipthe partsyou don't like. ... Read more

13. Selected Shorts: Timeless Classics (Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story)
by James Thurber, Edith Wharton, Jack Thurber, Richard Connell, D. H. Lawrence, Raymond Carver, Symphony Space
Audio CD: Pages (2006-04-01)
list price: US$28.00 -- used & new: US$11.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0971921830
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Finalist in AudioFile Magazine's 2007 Audie Awards in the category "Audiobook Adapted from Another Medium"

This three-CD compilation features some of the best short stories from National Public Radio's Selected Shorts, an award-winning series of classic and contemporary short fiction read by distinguished stage and screen actors and recorded live at the Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City. More than three hours of recordings in each collection capture the intimacy of live performance, with stories that are alternately exciting, poignant, and funny, making this the perfect accompaniment to any number of daily activities—driving, cooking, exercising, relaxing, or intently listening.

Timeless Classics includes, among others, James Thurber's "The Night the Ghost Got In," read by Isaiah Sheffer; Edith Wharton's "Roman Fever," read by Maria Tucci; Jack London's "Make Westing," read by Steven Gilborn; D. H. Lawrence's "The Rocking Horse Winner," read by John Shea; Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," read by Marian Seldes; Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game," read by Charles Keating; and Raymond Carver's "Cathedral," read by James Naughton.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Read
These are some of the true classics, each is unparalleled in its unique appeal.What's more is that here stories such as Raymond Carver's Cathedral and Shirley Jackson's The Lottery come to life even more through the expert readings of narrators.Cathedral was especially fun to listen to, given the spirited reading, and, despite the fact I'd read all these stories, I felt reintroduced to them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Selected Shorts: Timeless Classics (Selected Shorts series)
So much fun!Great for a few minutes or hours. ... Read more

14. People Have More Fun Than Anybody: A Centennial Celebration Of Drawings And Writings By James Thurber
by James Thurber
Paperback: 192 Pages (1995-10-13)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0156002353
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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In this collection, Thurber praises things canine in two marvelous tributes, muses over promises of mail sweepstakes, confesses his aversion to anything mechanical, and puzzles over the animal kingdom's curious uprisings. "Vintage Thurber . . . small masterpieces of contemporary comment."--Chicago Tribune. 75 line drawings. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Dated but Amusing Collection of Previously Uncollected Stuff
People Have More Fun Than Anybody collects 19 of Thurber's stories/articles/letters, several cartoons, and one recipe that have been previously uncollected. Surely this is a classification that would have amused Thurber no end--are they now "non-uncollected" stories? In "Help! Help! Another Classificationization" Thurber sets himself against exactly this mindset. And frankly, at this late date in the late humorist's career, such a criteria for inclusion assures that the book will not bring us the best of his work.

However, Thurber is almost always witty, and even though some of the pieces are dated and irrelevant, all of the writings evoke at least a smile. The cartoons don't fare as well, some of them being merely puzzling. The end notes tell us that some cartoons had different captions in their original stages. The most wildly different is a picture of a woman leaning forward and speaking intently to a man. The published caption is "If I told you a dream I had about you, Mr. Price, would you promise not to do anyting about it unless you really want to?", but the earlier caption on Thurber's original drawing was "If they never found the husband's body could they do anything to the wife?"

This is essentially a collection for the die-hard Thurber fan (who are rather few on the ground these days, it seems) only. Others will probably do better to read The Thurber Carnival. ... Read more

15. The Dog Department: James Thurber on Hounds, Scotties, and Talking Poodles
by James Thurber, Michael J. Rosen, Rosemary Thurber
Hardcover: 308 Pages (2001-04-01)
list price: US$32.00 -- used & new: US$20.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060196564
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"On the lawns and porches, and in the living rooms and backyards of my threescore years, there have been more dogs, written and drawn, real and imaginary, than I had guessed before I started this roundup."

Here is James Thurber, arguably the greatest humorist of the twentieth century, on all things canine. In The Dog Department, Michael J. Rosen, a literary dogcatcher of sorts, has gathered together Thurber's best in show. Here we have the stylish prose and drawings from Thurber's Dogs (which connected the words "Thurber" and "Dog" as inseparably as "Bartlett" and "Quotation," as "Emily Post" and "Etiquette"), along with unpublished material from the Thurber archives, a great sheaf of uncollected cartoons, and two dozen "Talk of the Town" miniatures from The New Yorker -; the consummate dog book from an artist of extraordinary pedigree. What other author can claim to have penned his own personal breed? The Thurber hound is a creature as unmistakable as Disney's mouse or Playboy's bunny.

In The Dog Department you'll find standard poodles, Scottish terriers, an Airedale, a rough collie, an American Staffordshire terrier -; all Thurber family members who inspired quintessential dog tales. For instance, there's Muggs, "the dog that bit people," an avocation that, each year, required Thurber's mother to send her famous chocolates to an ever-growing list of Muggs's victims. There's also a fair share about bloodhounds, German shepherd dogs, and pugs. But what you'll find remarkable and comforting is that reading Thurber from fifty or even seventy-five years ago is akin to reading about dogs today -; or about dogs from the previous century, as Thurber grew up reading -; or about dogs, we hope, from this new century we've just entered. The Dog Department is proof that Thurber's work defines the canine canon.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars I am pleased to get this Compilation of wonderful dog stories by James Thurber!
I own a yellowed, dog-eared copy of the original "Thurber's Dogs", published in 1955. I don't remember where I got it, but I still read these stories from time to time, and they never cease to cheer me up and get me smiling! Now I can get a nice, new copy of "The Dog Department", a collection of mostly the same stories that Thurber(1894-1961) wrote decades ago, but have not lost their appeal. The stories are warm and witty--very personal accounts of his many dogs and their personalities and antics. The cartoons are great, too. His drawings seem primitive, yet universal.

His iconic dog sketch was rounded, with floppy ears, a wrinkle in this brow, is usually low to the ground, as if he were resting on the floor. I always thought that he looked like my dear old yellow, floppy-eared, Labby, Muggsy. But after reading the essays again today, I have concluded that Thurber's dog drawing was modeled after the Bloodhound, an uncommon breed of which he was uncommonly fond. Nevertheless, he had owned a standard Poodle who was a show dog; a Airdale who bit people, a Scotty who "knew too much"; and a "cockeyed Spaniard" (Thurber was always fond of words.), among others.

I discovered Thurber in my youth, whereupon I read all of his works that I could get my hands on. His stories are simple, yet perceptive. His tales are sometimes rather tall and accented by hyperbole. He was also very imaginative, not unlike his famous "Walter Mitty". I recommend "Thurber's Dogs" to anyone who loves dogs and satiric wit. It offers a perceptive view of life, but at the same time, a break from harsh reality. Be careful, though, you just might get addicted!

5-0 out of 5 stars dogs
No one can write better about dogs than James Thurber. The chapters about Mugsy the airedale and about his poodle are incomparable. My stomach muscles were sore for days after reading about the airedale. My youngest son read it aloud and could not contain himself either. If you have an airedale or a poodle or ever owned one, this is must reading.Peter

5-0 out of 5 stars A must
This book contains one of the great dog stories of all time: THE DOG WHO BIT PEOPLE....... Scratch that ...... This book contains one of the great stories -- period -- of all time, THE DOG WHO BIT PEOPLE. Once you have read this story you will remember it forever. Isn't that the definition of a "great" story? ... Read more

16. The works of James Thurber: Complete and unabridged
by James Thurber
 Bonded Leather: 522 Pages (1986)
-- used & new: US$305.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0681400366
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17. The White Deer
by James Thurber
Paperback: 132 Pages (1968-10-23)
list price: US$28.00 -- used & new: US$8.70
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Asin: 0156962640
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Here is a Thurber world of enchanted deer and seven-headed dragons, of wizards and witches, of riddles and spells, of false love and true. It is the story of a beautiful princess, transformed from a deer, who assigns each of three princes a perilous labor to perform in order to win her hand. Drawings by the Author.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent little fairy tale
This is the first time that I have read any of Mr. Thurber's writing, and I must say that I am rather impressed.This is a pleasant story about a strong, but not very wise, king and his three sons who are sent on quests to win a beautiful princess (who may or may not actually be a deer).It is a book that makes serious points through a story that is often tremendously silly.

Mr. Thurber's drawings are terribly bad, so bad that they are actually quite humerous.I must say that I have never seen such horrendous drawings in a book before, yet they somehow add to the story.

Overall grade: A

3-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but slight
A little fantasy story by Thurber, not silly enough to be really funny, yet definitely not a serious story, either. If it had been written within this decade, it might have had that incredibly useless label post-modern thrown on it, as Thurber was one of those writers who delighted in wordplay that acknowledges the presence of the reader. A king and his three sons--two hearty hunters like their father and the youngest a musician and poet--corner a white deer who changes into a beautiful princess. The princess cannot remember her name or family, so she sets the three sons on quests. The question in the castle is whether the princess has been enchanted to forget her name, or is she a deer that has been enchanted to resemble a princess. Everything becomes clear in the end, like all good fairy tales, and Thurber gets to have a lot of fun getting there. Hopefully, you will too. I found this to be a little too similar to the humor of Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth for me to enjoy it wholeheartedly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Most excellent story
A real winner.This book is poetic and lovely.I couldn't ask for more.

3-0 out of 5 stars Has Its Moments
It's obvious Thurber lavished a lot of attention on this fantasy about a mythical king with a mythical name and a myth-like story.The craftsmanship in the writing is unusually good, poetry and all.It'sultimately the content that is the major problem -- a long story with lotsof parallel events, the way a real Brothers Grimm story might proceed. Doesn't seem to have much of an ending.The character of the king isstriking, if you want your king to look like Brian Blessed in the firstBlack Adder on TV.Nice touch giving the king his editor's expression atthe New Yorker:"Done AND done."But I have to admit, I wasglad when it was.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellant story for the young at heart of all ages
Great story with masterful language. A real treat. ... Read more

18. Thurber's Dogs
by James Thurber
 Paperback: 320 Pages (1992-12-01)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$20.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671792199
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19. The Years with Ross (Perennial Classics)
by James Thurber
Paperback: 336 Pages (2001-01-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$7.20
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Asin: 0060959711
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

At the helm of America's most influential literary magazine for more than half a century, Harold Ross introduced the country to a host of exciting talent, including Robert Benchley, Alexander Woolcott, Ogden Nash, Peter Arno, Charles Addams, and Dorothy Parker.  But no one could have written about this irascible, eccentric genius more affectionately or more critically than James Thurber -- an American icon in his own right -- whose portrait of Ross captures not only a complex literary giant but a historic friendship and a glorious era as well.  "If you get Ross down on paper," warned Wolcott Gibbs to Thurber," nobody will ever believe it."  But readers of this unforgettable memoir will find that they do.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good service
The book I ordered came timely and in the condition as described.I would order from this seller again.

4-0 out of 5 stars The way they were
I grew up with James Thurber on the shelf, his cartoons peopled my imagination from my earliest years and as reading skill grew, his stories (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Life and Hard Times, etc.) comprised some of my first grown-up literature. Much later I discovered The New Yorker magazine, the acme of commercial journalism and cartoon art in which this author had once played such a central role. By the time I bumped into the magazine it was well into middle age, James Thurber was gone -- he died in 1961 -- and blindness had ended his drawing career ten years earlier. Prodded by a friend who is a great fan of this author, I have looked him up again in recent years and rediscovered the fresh wit and off-kilter humor of one of our best "casual" writers. (As he would label himself.) THE YEARS WITH ROSS is a biography of Harold W. Ross, the eccentric fanatic who founded and edited The New Yorker for twenty-six years (1925-51). Here is the story of how one dogged genius drew together the best editorial talent of an era and lured many of the best writers of the century to fashion his dream. Ross was capable of utter precision and befuddled oversight. His payment schedule for writers was not only the most niggardly in the magazine business, it was an arcane system of word count, add-ons, deductions, bonuses and penalties which left authors baffled. Meanwhile, Ross' personal secretary siphoned off seventy-one thousand dollars in the late 1930s without his notice. He could agonize for weeks over placement of a comma, dueling with an exalted staff which included the authority himself, E.B. White. Though I found this gem as a second-hand paperback which fell to pieces as I turned each page, I see that it and dozens of Thurber titles are in the local library system, and happily commend it to other New Yorker fans. For a taste of the best of casual writing, check out The Thurber Carnival and other collections from this prince of whimsy. (See also my review of Thurber's ALARMS AND DIVERSIONS, Harper & Brothers, 1957)

3-0 out of 5 stars Thurber and Ross at The New Yorker
From 1927 to 1951, James Thurber, the humorist and cartoonist, worked under Harold Ross, the editor of The New Yorker. Both men became internationally famous in those years. The New Yorker was a magazine for the sophisticated.

How Ross created this aura is elusive. Thurber tells us about Ross's devotion to the magazine-he was married "for keeps" to his magazine-and about his hairsplitting attention to detail. These good points seem to be heavily outweighed by his bad points. He quit school early. He wasn't much of a reader: his favorite magazine was True Detective and most of the American writers who are now studied (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner) rarely or never appeared in his magazine. He didn't pay much attention to politics. He was a prude. And, as Thurber shows us, he was a poor administrator. He does not seem to be anything out of the ordinary. In fact, Ross often seems like a movie version of a harried editor with the gruff personality and tendency to "bark" orders, but with the heart of gold behind the exterior. He was the unsophisticated editor for the sophisticated.

The secret of his success was the way he could inspire devotion, as exhibited by Thurber writing this book in the first place. The two men's live were bound together for over 20 years. We learn how Thurber met E.B. White five minutes before a meeting with Ross; how White helped Thurber publish his cartoons despite Ross's skepticism; how Ross helped keep Thurber going despite his growing blindness. And, despite the fact that Thurber often makes Ross look foolish, it's a loving portrait. Ross shown at his worst is still endearing.

Because of this, it's probably not the best way to find the whole story about the magazine. In a way, it's just as much about Thurber as it is about Ross. That's not so bad, though.

Thurber tells us a lot about the production of magazine and the writers and cartoonists who appeared there. As mentioned before, Ross didn't publish the big names of the time and because of that, most of the New Yorker contributors of his day are now forgotten. Anecdotes about them and a chapter about Ross's system of payment are the low points of the book.

High points include a chapter about Ross and H.L. Mencken, Wolcott Gibb's guidelines for New Yorker style, and the chapter about Ross's friendship/feud with Alexander Woollcott. The story of Thurber's development as a cartoonist is interesting as well.

The Years With Ross is similar to Mencken's memoir,
Newspaper Days, in that it also is about the production of a periodical and about the lives of literary figures who aren't remembered today. However, where Mencken's style ranged from slightly acidic to vitriolic, Thurber's is gentle, even when he is poking fun. Here he describes Katherine White's visit to Alexander Woollcott: "He met her at the door clad as usual in pajama bottoms and dressing gown, and every now and then during his monologue that day his great bare belly would coyly appear and disappear, like a romping sea lion. "

Thurber has a nice style and is an amusing writer. He is the sort of writer who more often provokes a chuckle in the back of a reader's throat than he does convulsive laughter.

This isn't an indispensable American classic, but certain people will like it. Thurber's light humor can still amuse. And people who still believe in the magazine will want to read this book. Ross said that the New Yorker wanted "superior prose, funny drawings, and sound journalism, without propaganda." Recently a book review in the Nation complained that a journalist's collection of articles taken from the New Yorker was handicapped by the "the flat-footed New Yorker style." It was different in Ross's day.

5-0 out of 5 stars How He Was
Thurber got into trouble with his friend and co-New Yorker stalwart E.B. White for writing this portrait of their boss and benefactor. Between them the three wrote most of "The New Yorker" in its crucial first decades. These chapters, first written as a series of articles for "The Atlantic", are a model of the rich, primary source biography. Thurber pulls no punches. His Ross is not "a monument" as he puts it, but a man, worth looking at in all his strange glory. I would rate this book alongside Herndon's Life of Lincoln as one of the best accounts of a man by his contemporary, without the veneer of legend and without an undercurrent of envy. Thurber shared an office with Ross for who knows how many years, learned a lot about writing from him (some examples of his razor fine editing are here to learn from), and did a great deal of his best writing in the man's employ. One of Thurber's best books, and that makes it one of the best books there is. You could do worse than read this book before trying to write a life of anyone who's still living. You could do worse than reading this book before trying to write even one article about the life of somebody alive and real.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating author looks at an equally fascinating editor
James Thurber was in his 60s when he wrote THE YEARS WITH ROSS. Harold Ross was the first editor of The New Yorker. He was a homely man, awkward in manner and speech. Ross couldn't write, but he was a fine editor. He lacked a good education and was sadly unaware of most social graces so he was often uncouth, but he created one of the USA's outstanding magazines. The New Yorker is a stalwart of literary sophistication.

Thurber's study is not only an intriguing look at a real character of an editor but the story of how a magnificent magazine grew under the guidance of one of the truly talented editors of all time. ... Read more

20. Alarms And Diversions
by James Thurber
 Hardcover: 367 Pages (1957)

Asin: B0000CJULD
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Dis-thurbing humor
What fun it is to visit an old friend. I stumbled upon "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"? in my grade school years, and soon discovered this book on my parents' bookshelves. It has recently returned to me, part of the distribution of objects from the homestead when my Mother moved to the mountains. Thurber's style and language are antique but his enthusiasm and inquisitive nature remain fresh. He was a masterful, inventive and whimsical essayist, and his cartoons are still paradoxically light and dark at once. He was a humorist never far from the grim. After my forty years between, immersed in televisionisms and mushy prose, it is a delight to re-read one of the 20th Century's great stylists. In tackling word butchery, he writes: "The word 'insecurity' by the way, seems to have been taken over by the psychiatrists as their personal property. In politics, as in penology, 'security' itself has come to mean 'insecurity.' Take for example, this sentence: 'He was considered a 'maximum security' prisoner because of his police record and was never allowed out of his cell block.' ... "... I could prove that 'maximum' in the case of the prisoner mentioned above, really means 'minimum,' but I don't want to get us in so deep that we can't get out." And later he writes: "'It's a bad city to get something in your eye in,' the nurse said. 'Yes,' the interne agreed, 'but there isn't a better place to get something in your eye out in.' I rushed past them with my hair in my wild eyes, and left the hospital." Everyday people, politicos, crooks (and crooked politicos), the battle between the sexes, literature, modern art -- all fall under his wild eye and practiced hand. If you haven't read Thurber in a while, get thee to a library and sample one or two. Like a wine tasting, it will leave your palate cleansed. ... Read more

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