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In Calvin Trillin's antic tales of family life, she was portrayed as the wife who had "a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day" and the mother who thought that if you didn't go to every performance of your child's school play, "the county would come and take the child." Now, five years after her death, her husband offers this loving portrait of Alice Trillin off the page-his loving portrait of Alice Trillin off the page-an educator who was equally at home teaching at a university or a drug treatment center, a gifted writer, a stunningly beautiful and thoroughly engaged woman who, in the words of a friend, "managed to navigate the tricky waters between living a life you could be proud of and still delighting in the many things there are to take pleasure in."Though it deals with devastating loss, About Alice is also a love story, chronicling a romance that began at a Manhattan party when Calvin Trillin desperately tried to impress a young woman who "seemed to glow.""You have never again been as funny as you were that night," Alice would say, twenty or thirty years later."You mean I peaked in December of 1963?""I'm afraid so."But he never quit trying to impress her. In his writing, she was sometimes his subject and always his muse. The dedication of the first book he published after her death read, "I wrote this for Alice. Actually, I wrote everything for Alice."In that spirit, Calvin Trillin has, with About Alice, created a gift to the wife he adored and to his readers.From the Hardcover edition.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Calvin Trillin's Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin."Trillin is our funniest food writer. He writes with charm, freedom, and a rare respect for language." -New York magazine In this delightful and delicious book, Calvin Trillin, guided by an insatiable appetite, embarks on a hilarious odyssey in search of "something decent to eat." Across time zones and cultures, and often with his wife, Alice, at his side, Trillin shares his triumphs in the art of culinary discovery, including Dungeness crabs in California, barbecued mutton in Kentucky, potato latkes in London, blaff d'oursins in Martinique, and a $33 picnic on a no-frills flight to Miami. His eating companions include Fats Goldberg, the New York pizza baron and reformed blimp; William Edgett Smith, the man with the Naughahyde palate; and his six-year-old daughter, Sarah, who refuses to enter a Chinese restaurant unless she is carrying a bagel ("just in case"). And though Alice "has a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day," on the road she proves to be a serious eater-despite "seemingly uncontrollable attacks of moderation." Alice, Let Eat amply demonstrates why The New Republic called Calvin Trillin "a classic American humorist." "One of the most brilliant humorists of our times . . . Trillin is guaranteed good reading." -Charleston Post and Courier "Read Trillin and laugh out loud." -Time
Look what The New Yorker dragged in! It's the purr-fect gathering of talent celebrating our feline companions. This bountiful collection, beautifully illustrated in full color, features articles, fiction, humor, poems, cartoons, cover art, drafts, and drawings from the magazine's archives. Among the contributors are Margaret Atwood, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Roald Dahl, Wolcott Gibbs, Robert Graves, Emily Hahn, Ted Hughes, Jamaica Kincaid, Steven Millhauser, Haruki Murakami, Amy Ozols, Robert Pinsky, Jean Rhys, James Thurber, John Updike, Sylvia Townsend Warner, and E. B. White. Including a Foreword by Anthony Lane, this gorgeous keepsake will be a treasured gift for all cat lovers.Advance praise for The Big New Yorker Book of Cats "Covers, cartoons, authors of pieces both longer and shorter, reflect current views of the feline subject in all its glory. . . . The quality, humor and variety make for another successful New Yorker collection."--Kirkus ReviewsFrom the Hardcover edition.
Displaying the form that made bestsellers of Obliviously On He Sails and A Heckuva Job, tales of the Bush Administration in rhyme, Calvin Trillin trains his verse on the 2008 race for the presidency.Deciding the Next Decider is an ongoing campaign narrative in verse interrupted regularly by other poems, such as a country tune about John Edwards called "Yes, I Know He's a Mill Worker's Son, But There's Hollywood in That Hair" and a Sarah Palin song about her foreign policy credentials: "On a Clear Day, I See Vladivostok." It covers Mitt Romney's transformation ("Mitt Romney's saying now he should have known / A stem cell's just a human, not quite grown"), the speculation about whether Al Gore was trimming down to run ("Presumably, they looked for photo ops / To see what Gore was stuffing in his chops"), the slow-motion implosion of Hillary Clinton's drive to the White House ("Some pundits wrote that Hil's campaign might fare / A little better if Bill wasn't there"), and the differing responses of Barack Obama and John McCain to the financial crisis ("Though coolness has its limitations, it'll / Prevent comparisons with Chicken Little").Beginning at the 2006 midterms, Deciding the Next Decider resurrects the nonstarters like George Allen ("He fit what's often valued by the Right: / Quite cheerful, Reaganesque, and not too bright") and the low-energy Fred Thompson ("The pros said, 'That's a state he has to take, / And he just might, if he can stay awake' "). And it carries through to the vote that made Barack Obama the forty-fourth president of the United States.From the Hardcover edition.
In his latest laugh-out-loud book of political verse, Calvin Trillin provides a riotous depiction of the 2012 presidential election campaign. Dogfight is a narrative poem interrupted regularly by other poems and occasionally by what the author calls a pause for prose ("Callista Gingrich, Aware That Her Husband Has Cheated On and Then Left Two Wives Who Had Serious Illnesses, Tries Desperately to Make Light of a Bad Cough"). With the same barbed wit he displayed in the bestsellers Deciding the Next Decider, Obliviously On He Sails, and A Heckuva Job, America's deadline poet trains his sights on the Tea Party ("These folks were quick to vocally condemn/All handouts but the ones that went to them") and the slapstick field of contenders for the Republican nomination ("Though first-tier candidates were mostly out,/Republicans were asking, "What about/The second tier or what about the third?/Has nothing from those other tiers been heard?"). There is an ode to Michele Bachmann, sung to the tune of a Beatles classic ("Michele, our belle/Thinks that gays will all be sent to hell") and passages on the exit of candidates like Herman Cain ("Although his patter in debates could tickle,/Cain's pool of knowledge seemed less pool than trickle") and Rick Santorum ("The race will miss the purity/That you alone endow./We'll never find another man/Who's holier than thou.") On its way to the November 6 finale, Trillin's narrative takes us through such highlights as the January caucuses in frigid Iowa ("To listen to long speeches is your duty,/And getting there could freeze off your patootie"), the Republican convention ("It seemed like Clint, his chair, and their vignette/Had wandered in from some adjoining set"), and Mitt Romney's secretly recorded "47 percent" speech, which inspired the "I Got the Mitt Thinks I'm a Moocher, a Taker not a Maker, Blues."From the Hardcover edition.
Calvin Trillin begins his wise and charming ruminations on family by stating the sum total of his child-rearing advice: "Try to get one that doesn't spit up. Otherwise, you're on your own." Suspicious of any child-rearing theories beyond "Your children are either the center of your life or they're not," Trillin has clearly reveled in the role of family man. Acknowledging the special perils to the privacy of people living with a writer who occasionally remarks, "I hope you're not under the impression that what you just said was off the record," Trillin deals with the subject of family in a way that is loving, honest, and wildly funny.
Calvin Trillin has never been a champion of the "continental cuisine" palaces he used to refer to as La Maison de la Casa House--nor of their successors, the trendy spots he calls "sleepy-time restaurants, where everything is served on a bed of something else." What he treasures is the superb local specialty. And he will go anywhere to find one.As it happens, some of Trillin's favorite dishes--pimientos de Padrón in northern Spain, for instance, or pan bagnat in Nice or posole in New Mexico--can't be found anywhere but in their place of origin. Those dishes are on his Register of Frustration and Deprivation. "On gray afternoons, I go over it," he writes, "like a miser who is both tantalizing and tormenting himself by poring over a list of people who owe him money." On brighter afternoons, he calls his travel agent. Trillin shares charming and funny tales of managing to have another go at, say, fried marlin in Barbados or the barbecue of his boyhood in Kansas City. Sometimes he returns with yet another listing for his Register--as when he travels to Ecuador for ceviche, only to encounter fanesca, a soup so difficult to make that it "should appear on an absolutely accurate menu as Potage Labor Intensive."We join the hunt for the authentic fish taco. We tag along on the "boudin blitzkrieg" in the part of Louisiana where people are accustomed to buying boudin and polishing it off in the parking lot or in their cars ("Cajun boudin not only doesn't get outside the state, it usually doesn't even get home"). In New York, we follow Trillin as he roams Queens with the sort of people who argue about where to find the finest Albanian burek and as he tries to use a glorious local specialty, the New York bagel, to lure his daughters back from California ("I understand that in some places out there if you buy a dozen wheat-germ bagels you get your choice of a bee-pollen bagel or a ginseng bagel free").Feeding a Yen is a delightful reminder of why New York magazine called Calvin Trillin "our funniest food writer."From the Hardcover edition.
Fred Becker is a floater at a magazine, filling in for temporary vacancies at the various departments. In this comedic gem, he wonders if a news tip he received is true or not. There are wonderful characterizations of the various members of the news staff.
"I can only speak to myself." True -- and yet we must listen. Sometimes his accidental wit speaks louder than any prepared statement. "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." "I always jest to people, the Oval Office is the kind of place where people stand outside, they're getting ready to come in and tell me what for, and they walk in and get overwhelmed by the atmosphere. And they say, 'Man, you're looking pretty.'" "I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein." Thanks to the faithful work of Jacob Weisberg, the wisdom of George W. Bush -- America's Malapropist in Chief -- has been carefully preserved for the ages in annual editions. Now that the president is armed with a new (and unprecedented!) popular electoral victory, America can breathe a sigh of relief -- or, as the president once put it, we can "thank our blessings." The language experiments will continue. Stand-up comedians will enjoy full employment. With George W. Bushisms V, the second term truly begins.
Somehow, despite everything Calvin Trillin wrote about the Bush Administration in Obliviously On He Sails, his 2004 bestseller in verse, George W. Bush is still in the White House. Taking a philosophical view, Trillin has said, "We weren't going to know whether you could bring down a presidency with iambic pentameter until somebody tried it."Now Trillin is trying again, back at his pithy and hilarious best to comment on the President's decision to go to war in Iraq ("Then terrorists could count on what we'd do: / Attack us, we'll strike back, though not at you"), his religiosity ("He treats his critics in the press / As if they're yapping Pekineses. / Reporters deal in mundane facts; / This man has got the word from Jesus"), and whether he was wearing a transmitting device in the first presidential debate ("Could this explain his odd expressions? Is there proof he / Was being told, 'If you can hear me now, look goofy'?")Trillin deals with the people around Bush, such as Nanny Dick Cheney and Mushroom Cloud Rice and Orange John Ashcroft and Orange John's successor, Alberto Gonzales ("The A.G.'s to be one Alberto Gonzales- / Dependable, actually loyal über alles"). He tries to predict the behavior of the famously intemperate John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations in poems with titles like "Bolton Chases French Ambassador Up Tree" and "White House Says Bolton Can Do Job Even While in Straitjacket."Finally, in dealing with whether the entire Bush Administration, like the unfortunate Brownie, has done a heckuva job, he composes a small-government sea chantey for the Republicans:'Cause government's the problem, lads,Americans would all do well to shun it.Yes, government's the problem, lads.At least it is when we're the ones who run it.From the Hardcover edition.
Trillin deals with the people around Bush, such as Nanny Dick Cheney, Mushroom Cloud Rice and many others. He tries to predict the behavior of the famously hot-headed John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations in poems.
Dozens of Trillin's columns that appeared as columns published in The Nation or were distributed for publication through King Features Syndicate.
Sudden deaths are quite interesting to reporters, as the essays in this book will attest.
Does the Bush Administration sound any better in rhyme? In this biting array of verse, it at least sounds funnier. Calvin Trillin employs everything from a Gilbert and Sullivan style, for describing George Bush's rescue in the South Carolina primary by the Christian Right ("I am, when all is said and done, a Robertson Republican"), to a bilingual approach, when commenting on the President's casual acknowledgment, after months of trying to persuade the nation otherwise, that there was never any evidence of Iraqi involvement in 9/11: "The Web may say, or maybe Lexis-Nexis / If chutzpa is a word they use in Texas."Trillin deals not only with George W. Bush but with the people around him--Supreme Commander Karl Rove and Condoleezza (Mushroom Cloud) Rice and Nanny Dick Cheney ("One mystery I've tried to disentangle: / Why Cheney's head is always at an angle . . .") The armchair warriors Trillin refers to as the Sissy Hawk Brigade are celebrated in such poems as "Richard Perle: Whose Fault Is He?" and "A Sissy Hawk Cheer" ("All-out war is still our druthers-- / Fiercely fought, and fought by others.").Trillin may never be poet laureate--certainly not while George W. Bush is in office--but his wit and his political insight produce what has been called "doggerel for the ages."From the Hardcover edition.
Calvin Trillin employs everything for describing George Bush's rescue when commenting on the President's casual acknowledgment, after months of trying to persuade the nation otherwise, that there was never any evidence of Iraqi involvement in 9/11.
For at least forty years, Calvin Trillin has committed blatant acts of funniness all over the place--in The New Yorker, in one-man off-Broadway shows, in his "deadline poetry" for The Nation, in comic novels like Tepper Isn't Going Out, in books chronicling his adventures as a happy eater, and in the column USA Today called "simply the funniest regular column in journalism."Now Trillin selects the best of his funny stuff and organizes it into topics like high finance ("My long-term investment strategy has been criticized as being entirely too dependent on Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes") and the literary life ("The average shelf life of a book is somewhere between milk and yogurt.")In Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin, the author deals with such subjects as the horrors of witnessing a voodoo economics ceremony and the mystery of how his mother managed for thirty years to feed her family nothing but leftovers ("We have a team of anthropologists in there now looking for the original meal") and the true story behind the Shoe Bomber: "The one terrorist in England with a sense of humor, a man known as Khalid the Droll, had said to the cell, 'I bet I can get them all to take off their shoes in airports.' " He remembers Sarah Palin with a poem called "On a Clear Day, I See Vladivostok" and John Edwards with one called "Yes, I Know He's a Mill Worker's Son, but There's Hollywood in That Hair." In this, the definitive collection of his humor, Calvin Trillin is prescient, insightful, and invariably hilarious.From the Hardcover edition.
Author examines the life of Denny, the emblematic college hero of 1957 America. From Denny's Yale graduation and turn as a Rhodes Scholar to his eventual suicide as a middle-aged, mid-level academic, author charts the mysterious course of a life.
The wonderful story of a cryptic rune stone which two plunk-headed gas station attendants find while clamming in Maine. Everyone in town either becomes a Viking enthusiast (for tourism) or a skeptic (for a variety of reasons).
WITH 8 PAGES OF FULL-COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS AND BLACK-AND-WHITE IMAGES THROUGHOUTThe former owner/proprietor of the beloved appetizing store on Manhattan's Lower East Side tells the delightful, mouthwatering story of an immigrant family's journey from a pushcart in 1907 to "New York's most hallowed shrine to the miracle of caviar, smoked salmon, ethereal herring, and silken chopped liver" (The New York Times Magazine). When Joel Russ started peddling herring from a barrel shortly after his arrival in America from Poland, he could not have imagined that he was giving birth to a gastronomic legend. Here is the story of this "Louvre of lox" (The Sunday Times, London): its humble beginnings, the struggle to keep it going during the Great Depression, the food rationing of World War II, the passing of the torch to the next generation as the flight from the Lower East Side was beginning, the heartbreaking years of neighborhood blight, and the almost miraculous renaissance of an area from which hundreds of other family-owned stores had fled. Filled with delightful anecdotes about how a ferociously hardworking family turned a passion for selling perfectly smoked and pickled fish into an institution with a devoted national clientele, Mark Russ Federman's reminiscences combine a heartwarming and triumphant immigrant saga with a panoramic history of twentieth-century New York, a meditation on the creation and selling of gourmet food by a family that has mastered this art, and an enchanting behind-the-scenes look at four generations of people who are just a little bit crazy on the subject of fish.Color photographs © Matthew HranekFrom the Hardcover edition.
Murray Tepper would say that he is an ordinary New Yorker who is simply trying to read the newspaper in peace. But he reads while sitting behind the wheel of his parked car, and his car always seems to be in a particularly desirable parking spot. Not surprisingly, he is regularly interrupted by drivers who want to know if he is going out.Tepper isn't going out. Why not? His explanations tend to be rather literal: the indisputable fact, for instance, that he has twenty minutes left on the meter. Tepper's behavior sometimes irritates the people who want his spot. ("Is that where you live? Is that car rent-controlled?") It also irritates the mayor--Frank Ducavelli, known in tabloid headlines as Il Duce--who sees Murray Tepper as a harbinger of what His Honor always calls "the forces of disorder."But once New Yorkers become aware of Tepper, some of them begin to suspect that he knows something they don't know. And an ever-increasing number of them are willing to line up for the opportunity to sit in his car with him and find out.Tepper Isn't Going Out is a wise and witty story of an ordinary man who, perhaps innocently, changes the world around him.
Compiled from his syndicated column and from his pieces in The New Yorker, this whimsical, uproarious collection presents Calvin Trillin's witty take on all the zany people, happenings, and events that have so boldly colored life so far in the 1990s.
This delightful book collects Calvin Trillin's accounts of his trips to Europe with his wife, Alice, and their two daughters. In Taormina, Sicily, they cheerfully disagree with Mrs. Tweedie's 1904 assertion that the beautiful town "is being spoilt," and skip the Grand Tour in favor of swimming holes, table soccer, and taureaux piscine. In Paris, they spend a day on the Champs-Elysées comparing Freetime's "le Hitburger" to McDonald's Big Mac. In Spain, Trillin wonders whether he will run out of Spanish "the way someone might run out of flour or eggs." Filled with Trillin's characteristic humor, "Travels with Alice" is the perfect book for summer travelers.
Calvin Trillin informs America that its most glorious food is not to be found at the pretentious restaurants he refers to generically as La Maison de la Casa House, Continental Cuisine. With three hilarious books over the next two decades--"American Fried," "Alice, Let's Eat," and "Third Helpings"--he established himself as, in Craig Claiborne's phrase, "the Walt Whitman of American eats."
Anecdotes and satires on United States politics and government, as Trillin wrote them during his years as a columnist at The Nation.
Can a conservative laugh at a column in a pinko magazine like The Nation if the columnist is intending to be funny? His entire political philosophy seems to be summed up in the phrase, "It's too soon to tell." Sure, he made Reaganities angry with his revelation that Nancy Reagan was called Bubbles in high school, but that essay seemed motivated more by his keen journalistic instincts than by any ideological fervor.
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