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1. About Alice
2. Alice, Let's Eat: Further Adventures
3. Feeding a Yen: Savoring Local
4. Travels with Alice
5. Alice Lets Eat
6. Tepper Isn't Going Out: A Novel
7. Too Soon To Tell
8. Deciding the Next Decider: The
9. The Tummy Trilogy
10. Family Man
11. Obliviously On He Sails: The Bush
12. Killings
13. Runestruck
14. Astorians, Eccentric and Extraordinary
15. They Went: The Art and Craft of
17. Questionstruck: A Collection of
19. Enough's Enough (And Other Rules
20. An Evening With Garrison Keillor,

1. About Alice
by Calvin Trillin
Hardcover: 96 Pages (2006-12-26)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$1.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400066158
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
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. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (64)

4-0 out of 5 stars Lovely Tribute To A Beloved Wife
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Brief Summary: Trillin's wife Alice made frequent appearances in his writing, and it was obvious he loved her fully and deeply. This little book, written five years after her death from cancer, chronicles their love story, paints a portrait of a talented and generous woman, and pays tribute to the woman of whom Trillin wrote: "I wrote this for Alice. Actually, I wrote everything for Alice."
Brief Thoughts: Touching and often amusing (as Trillin often is), this book is a lovely tribute to a special woman and a tender look at a strong marriage between soul mates. If only all of us could be so lucky to be loved and adored like Alice obviously was.

5-0 out of 5 stars So beautiful you'll think, "I wish I knew her.' But now you do. You do.
Alice Trillin died in New York City on September 11, 2001. Did anyone else die in Manhattan that day? In "About Alice," her husband --- the humorist and New Yorker writer Calvin ("Bud") Trillin --- makes no mention of it.

This is that kind of book.

For that matter, there is not a bedpan to be found in these pages. We learn that Alice had a bypass operation in the spring of 2001, that "the operation took much longer than expected," and that the surgeons learned that the radiation used in the treatment for cancer --- her long-ago demon --- had damaged her heart. She was released from the hospital a week before the marriage of her younger daughter. No question: she went.

After the wedding, Alice sent an e-mail to her friends. Trillin quotes it at length. The paragraph ends with her last line: "Life doesn't get much better than this."

"Four months later, speaking at Alice's memorial service..." That's how the next paragraph begins. Writers call that "compression." Smart critics and readers call that "dazzling." But some, I fear, will cry "not enough information."

So that no one buys this and is chuffed, let's be clear what "About Alice" is. Length: 72 pages. Format: big print, lots of white space --- you can read it in an hour. Previous publication: Almost all of the book appeared in The New Yorker. If you read it there, you read it. The only reason to buy it now is because you loved it and want to have it around --- or that you loved it and want to give it to someone you love.

"About Alice" is not the tortured exercise in thought and language that Joan Didion delivers in The Year of Magical Thinking. It's not the diary of illness and loss that Donald Hall, our Poet Laureate, describes in "The Best Day the Worst Day." It's a love letter to a 35-year marriage --- a buoyant, joyous, grateful-every-day marriage that we all crave and few experience.

Calvin Trillin met Alice Stewart at a writers' party in l963. Alice was clean and sleek and Wellesley --- a creamy blonde on the Diane Sawyer model. He thought "she looked more alive than anyone I'd ever seen." On second meeting, she thought he was funny. If so, it was because he was trying to impress her. And here's the thing: He never stopped trying to impress her.

If you're looking for the clue to this successful marriage --- and, just maybe, all successful marriages --- that's the thought to hold. It's a dangerous generalization, but I suspect that men fall out of love with women for all kinds of reasons; women fall out of love because they stop respecting their men. Calvin Trillin's life work was writing pieces and books that his wife would admire. He was never in a moment's danger of losing her love.

"About Alice" chronicles small moments. Its power is in the careful accretion of modest insights, small anecdotes, modest descriptions of character. Alice is decent and committed; she did great work helping underprepared minority students make it through New York colleges. She taught at a drug treatment center. She taught at Sing Sing.

Alice was not sugar and spice. At a banquet, she listened to New York Governor George Pataki deliver a moving speech. When he sat down, she told him, "That was one of the best speeches I ever heard." Then she asked, "Why in the world are you a Republican?"

Mostly, it seems, Alice was that person it's hard to be in this hypertense, overbusy world: a wife and mother. She sent the Trillin daughters out to do Meaningful Work, and they do it. She packed up her little boy's lunchbox --- I mean: her husband's manuscripts --- and sent him out in the world to shine. She was a graceful writer and an attractive personality; she could have had a bigger career. But she had her priorities.

All men marry up. That's just the way things are. Bud Trillin married way up. To read his book is both to mourn his loss and cheer his extravagant good fortune. Which is to say: You'll cry. And, also, you'll laugh.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Perfect
I read this lovely book in a single day:between meetings, walking down the street, on the metro - I'll even admit, at a long red light.As soon as I finished, I went back and read it through again.It is sweet, quiet, charming, loving, and it sings with truth, with sorrow, and with joy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love Poem to his Passed Wife
The prolific writer Calvin Trillin paused to write this extended elegy to his deceased wife, Alice.It is obvious from the writing the Calvin and Alice were deeply in love.Trillin describes Alice in great detail, including how she affected all who met her, was a loving wife and mother, an instigator for Calvin in his own life's goals.The loss that Calvin Trillin feels for his departed Alice is obvious when you read this short book.I highly recommend this book to anyone who is just a little interested in what one loving relationship looks like.

4-0 out of 5 stars About Alice
I enjoy Calvin Trillin's writing, and this tribute to his wife is testament to the love he had for her, and is quite touching. Obviously, she was an extremely talented and intelligent person, strong and forceful, but also, it is revealed, quite opinionated. Given that he seems to adore the ground she walked on, I found it very interesting to note characteristics in her that would irritate me in a friend. The good must have outweighed the negative, however, and apparently, though, they were made for one another.I'm sure that her idiosyncrasies bothered him not one whit. It's more than touching to read of such a deep and abiding love of a man for his wife, and what an inspiration she was to him. An amateur psychologist would have fun dissecting this one. ... Read more

2. Alice, Let's Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater
by Calvin Trillin
Paperback: 192 Pages (2006-12-26)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$0.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812978064
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
“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 ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars read, eat, laugh,love.
Warning: Do not read this book on an empty stomach.

Calvin Trillin invites you into his world of gastronomy and reminds you how much in love, he is with his wife, Alice.
It is a win/win situation. Through Trillin's eyes (and stomach) you find your way through wild game church suppers
and haute cuisine meals,prepared by Paul Bocuse. The journey is joyful, as every adventure is tempered with the
careful consternation and advice of Alice.
Ever mindful of Trillin's tendency towards "excess", Alice's voice reminds us to stop and smell the roses, see the
sights, and perhaps, eat a vegetable along the way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Trillin is my favorite author - Alice is my favorite subject...
In this book, his quirkyness really comes to the fore.I cannot get enough of him!

2-0 out of 5 stars Stopped reading it
I was really excited to read this book from all the great reviews I had read but did not enjoy it. I guess what I didn't like was his writing style which I found a bit stuffy and formal and the stories he talked about weren't really all that interesting. I got half way through and thought, "Forget it" and put it away, not likely to go back.

5-0 out of 5 stars Calvin Trillin's "Alice, Let's Eat"
This is another wonderful book from the witty and perceptive Mr. Trillin. I heartily recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars eat, drink and love Alice
Calvin Trillin is my favorite food writer because he is so darned funny. He wrote this book in 1976. At the time, his beloved wife Alice had just been operated on for lung cancer. There is no trace of grim sorrow in this wonderful book, just zest for good food and love for Alice.

This book was just re-issued in conjunction with Trillin's remembrance of Alice called "About Alice." She died in 2001. Read "Alice, Let's Eat" first. Get to know her. Then read "About Alice."

Trillin is a great writer. The first book will make you laugh. "About Alice" will bring you a sad smile. What a remarkable woman. Such a loss. Yet, a life well lived.

My favorite line in "Alice, Let's Eat" is when Trillin is in Owensboro, Kentucky looking for the best barbecued mutton. The waitress tells him that "we have people in here from all over...we had a Puerto Rican in here once."

Read both books. You'll be glad that you did. ... Read more

3. Feeding a Yen: Savoring Local Specialties, from Kansas City to Cuzco
by Calvin Trillin
Paperback: 216 Pages (2004-05-11)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$5.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375759964
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Calvin Trillin has never been a champion of the “continental cuisine” palaces he used to refer to as La Maison de la Casa House. What he treasures is the superb local specialty. And he will go anywhere to find one. As it happens, some of his favorite dishes can be found only in their place of origin. Join Trillin on his charming, funny culinary adventures as he samples fried marlin in Barbados and the barbecue of his boyhood in Kansas City. Travel alongside as he hunts for the authentic fish taco, and participates in a “boudin blitzkrieg” in the part of Louisiana where people are accustomed to buying these spicy sausages and polishing them off in the parking lot. (“Cajun boudin not only doesn’t get outside the state, it usually doesn’t even get home.”) In New York, Trillin even tries to use a glorious local specialty, the bagel, to lure his daughters back from California. Feeding a Yen is a delightful reminder of why New York magazine called Calvin Trillin “our funniest food writer.” ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars fabulous stories with great food
I love this book. If your favorite types of food reviews are lengthy personal ones, then this book is for you. Calvin reviews the food from his heart, rather than with his brain, and I can't get enough of his stuff. :) It really makes me want to go hunt out the things he's had.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Family and Food Stories
I really enjoyed this short book full of essays centering around food. I immediately picked up his "Tummy Trilogy" after this. While that was enjoyable, many of the stories were repeated, and more long winded. That book could have used some editing to make the stories more concise. I thought the essays in Feeding a Yen were perfect, and trimmed of excess fat. Ahem. Highly recommended, and a joy to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Food Writing Without the Recipes
One of the things I like about Trillin is that he is not a cook. There are no recipes in this book. Although I do enjoy reading food books by people who cook, it's nice to get the view from an unadulterated eater now and then.

Trillin uses this book to highlight foods that he can't get at home in Manhattan, and that is a list that is getting shorter all the time. In fact, you can get exotic foods almost anywhere now. And that is just why he has a hard time luring his daughters back to New York from the West Coast. They can get New York bagels and anything else in California.

I love Trillin's dry humor and skepticism. This is my first Calvin Trillin book (although I have enjoyed his magazine essays) and I'm looking forward to reading his past works.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Delicious Book
I have a soft spot for food writers. Maybe it's because I enjoy a good meal, perhaps too much, but I think it's because I've found food writers to be charming in their obsession with food related minutiae. No one is more charming than Calvin Trillin whose "register of frustration and deprivation" leads him to travel the world seeking those foods that he can't live without. the result of this is Feeding a Yen. I can't put this book down. He's like an adventurous and kindly uncle. It's a treat.

5-0 out of 5 stars *munch* *munch* *gulp*
I began reading The New Yorker in college, back in the early `60s -- mostly for the cartoons, I admit, but it wasn't long before I discovered the often witty and always beautifully written essays of Calvin Trillin. As a food-lover, I especially enjoyed his culinary pieces, since collected in three volumes beginning with American Fried in 1974. The last, Third Helpings, appeared in 1983, so it's been along dry spell, but now he's back with a new series of adventures that will make you salivate. The chapter in which he tries to get his daughter to promise she'll move back to New York from San Francisco if he can find a dependable source of pumpernickel bagels makes him sound Manhattan-centric, but he also writes a paean to boudin (which, even living in south Louisiana, I confess I don't care for at all), and another to the posole found in Taos (which I like very much). And there's a chapter on nutria sauce piquante that's a real hoot (think sheep-sized rodents). And there's San Francisco burritos, and Casamento's oyster loaf, and fried fish in Barbados, and pimientos in Galicia, and a number of other foodstuffs to be considered. This is a great book to read when you're sitting in the staff room at work, munching mindlessly on a homemade tuna sandwich and a bag of Fritos. ... Read more

4. Travels with Alice
by Calvin Trillin
Paperback: 216 Pages (1999-07-23)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$1.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374526001
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
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.
Amazon.com Review
Calvin Trillin goes through life one step behind his appetite.He says he's just a Big Hungry Boy from the Midwest, but he's also oneof the funniest American writers around, writing a palate pilgrimagethrough Europe and the Caribbean, where Trillin fantasizes of anItalian West Indies island of Santo Prosciutto "whose steep hills aregreen with garlic plants." Trillin gives free play to otherobsessions (like taureaux piscine), but most of the travels arehappily fueled by thoughts of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars A funny travelogue
Calvin Trillin has been traveling with his wife (Alice) and his daughters for years, mainly on holidays, and he wrote this funny book about it. His main interest is food, but Alice is also very fond of views. He deplores the fact that Alice is a three meals a day person!
He makes you feel as if you're traveling with them and has a new angle on a lot of things. If you like a funny (maybe not always super accurate) travelogue, this book is for you!

5-0 out of 5 stars Efficient delivery
Travels with Alice arrived within two weeks after it was ordered.It was in perfect condition as described, though it was a used copy.I find that the choices of books I have made with Amazon are always aptly described.Amazon is where I order all of my books and CDs.

1-0 out of 5 stars Travels with Alice
It was a mistake to buy this book. It was so boring that I did not finish it.Having read a more recently published book about The life and death of Alice, I expected a better book.

3-0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars.Sweet, funny, wry, but not perfect.
This is my second Trillin book, after Tepper Isn't Going Out Today.I quite enjoyed that book, and when the most recent Alice book came out and was being promoted, I became interested in going back to some of Trillin's earlier works, especially those featuring Alice.

This slight volume was a nice, easy read with family vacation stories fairly universal in this culture.Kids with fussy appetites, parents balancing out "just hanging around" vs "force-feeding culture down the kids' throats", etc etc.Trillin's got a nice wry, easy-going manner that I found comfortable and friendly.

There were times I found myself skimming the overdone descriptions of the food he enjoyed.I get that that's one of Trillin's "things" - he's a foodie.But it's just not all that interesting when described to such the nth degree.

I enjoyed, most of all, passages involving his interactions with his two daughters.Funny and sweet without being cloying or sentimental.If I have one complaint with the book, it's that the titular Alice makes only rare, and not especially interesting, appearances.Trillin seems not that interested in the experiences his wife had on their trips, or in the experiences he shared with his wife on their trips.Very interested in his own deal.Which is fine.But given the title, I had hoped for a bit more in the way of a loving, fun reflection on their shared experiences.

Good book, recommended.

1-0 out of 5 stars Should have been titled "Travels with Calvin"
After hearing Mr. Trillin speak on a public radio talk show, I thought I'd love to read one of his books, as I found him so amusing.As it turns out, I found this book very boring.I've traveled in many of the countries he mentioned but found his descriptions of food and place uninteresting and found myself skipping over many parts trying to get to something interesting.Little mention was made of Alice.His two daughters played a bigger part in the rendition and it was mostly about Calvin. I don't know if I'd care to try another of his books. ... Read more

5. Alice Lets Eat
by Calvin Trillin
 Hardcover: Pages
-- used & new: US$8.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1568521057
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6. Tepper Isn't Going Out: A Novel
by Calvin Trillin
Paperback: 224 Pages (2003-01-14)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$2.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375758518
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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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.

But once New Yorkers become aware of Tepper, some of them begin to suspect that he knows something they don’t. 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 what it is.

Tepper Isn’t Going Out is a wise and witty story of an ordinary man who, perhaps innocently, changes the world around him.Amazon.com Review
New York City and America's car culture smash together in Calvin Trillin's Tepper Isn't Going Out, a humorous tale of the urban quest for an open parking space. When a mailing-list broker, Murray Tepper, decides to spend his days plugging meters so he can sit in his car reading newspapers and waive off suitors hopeful of gaining his spot, little does he know that his odd behavior (even by New York standards) will set off a media buzz, provide him with cult-hero status, and incur reproach from the paranoid, dour Mayor Frank Ducavelli, who focuses on curtailing Tepper's "abuse" of the parking meter system.

Granted, the plot of this novel is quite thin, but, while not leaving you in stitches, Trillin provokes many smirks and smiles with his wit. For instance, he writes of magazines titled Beautiful Spot: A Magazine of Parking and the potential of Spin: The Magazine of Salad Drying. When Tepper suggests that his friend Jack leave his car's flashers on while parked illegally, Jack responds:

And draw attention to myself? Not a chance. I always park in front of hydrants. The secret is to park smack in front of them rather than just too near them. You have to go all the way. If you're smack in front of them, the cop rolling down the street can't see that there's a hydrant there at all. You have to be brazen. That's my motto, in parking and in life: be brazen.
Trillin's book should appeal to commuters and city dwellers everywhere, and anyone else looking for a chuckle. --Michael Ferch ... Read more

Customer Reviews (53)

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightfully odd and humorous, strangely wonderful
Tepper is sitting in his car, reading the paper and people-watching. He's in New York. There are lots of people to watch. But who's watching Tepper?

Murray Tepper is a very likeable character with a very odd quirk. He seems to like sitting in his car. He seems to enjoy searching the streets, no mean feat, to find a parking space. Then he sits and reads.

Tepper has his some favorite places to stop, and soon there are favorite people to watch; even a young wannabe reporter who writes a newspaper article. And "Tepper isn't going out." His car's staying right where it is, so those drivers waiting for him to move will simply have to seek respite elsewhere.

Tepper's wife is a little concerned. After all, people don't usually leave the house to sit in the car. Tepper's son-in-law seems to doubt his father-in-law's sanity. Tepper's co-workers continue to ask about those mailing lists, and the reader is left to ponder other connections... people who need help like talking to strangers in cars perhaps. (Well, kids who need to talk are far more likely to in a car, as parents can tell, but usually it's moving.)

Then there's the mayor who seems to feel oddly threatened by many things. Then there's the altercation between would-be parkers and would-be people watching Tepper watching people. It gets more complicated, and more fun, while Tepper continues to placidly maintain, if there's money on the meter, Tepper isn't going out.

The story climbs to amusing heights with gentle irony and a pleasing twist. Not necessarily laugh-out-loud, it's certainly laugh-quietly and smile-behind-your-book; a really enjoyable, pleasantly wise, and curiously cheerful kind of tale. I really enjoyed it.

1-0 out of 5 stars good idea
Ifeelthat CALVIN TRILLIN had an inspired idea for this book.One that any modern day new yorker could relate too:-the absurdity of trying to deal day to day with owning a car in the city and having any semblence of a normal life with the laws involved in parking it ---believe it or not its a true story!---But this book is hardly readable.He starts with this interesting premise---gives it dashes of humor---and then goes absolutely nowhere with it. Since i couldnt finish half way thru from utter boredom i give him 1 star for a good idea but he loses the other four for not being able to pull a good idea off.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Trillin's finest hour
I wanted to love this book. In a sense, it has everything I live about Calvin Trillin's writings: his low-key approach, turns of phrase, characters slowly going about their business in a Zen-like calm. But it never really seemed to catch fire. I now know that Trillin wrote this after the death of his wife/muse Alice, so it was probably more a of a project to get him through that terrible time, rather than a novel he put his all into.
It's amusing but not his best work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Laugh-out-loud funny
This hilarious book manages to spoof just about everything related to living in NYC; emphasizing, of course, every New Yorker's obsession with finding the "perfect" parking spot. "Tepper Isn't Going Out" is a great airplane or train read, assuming you don't mind laughing out loud whilst sitting next to a total stranger. Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Never thought I'd be nostalgic about parking
I recently left the NY area after several years on the UES, and Trillin's pitch-perfect recreation of the daily parking ritual took me right back. He accomplishes a lot of characterization and commentary in a small space -- elements of this book might be called "Campfire of the Vanities."

But at its heart is Tepper -- and the author did such a good job of establishing who he was that I felt confident in deciding I didn't buy the small maybe-twist at the end, which accounts for the missing star.
... Read more

7. Too Soon To Tell
by Calvin Trillin
Paperback: 308 Pages (2004-08-01)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$14.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374529868
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A collection of topical essays revealing the acclaimed writer at his wittiest deals with matters of the family, educational issues, world affairs, and language in short takes that offer a humorous look at the quirks of society. 25,000 first printing. Tour.Amazon.com Review
Another collection of Trillin's short pieces has hit thestreets, and he just gets better and better. A Midwesterner in hissoul but a New Yorker in fact, Trillin's comic take on '90s lifedemonstrates his perfect pitch for the absurd again and again in theseshort and intelligent essays. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Witty but never mean
Humorist Trillin's 1995 collection of the best of his "New Yorker" columns, maintains a consistent deadpan humor and amiable cynicism, whether the subject is bestselling writers who don't write their own books, teenagers'comprehension of rock lyrics, or the rehabilitation of Nixon.

Trillin is at his most caustic with politicians and icons of corporate culture. His wife and two daughters feature prominently, as always, allowing him to play the hapless, push-over curmudgeon. Wry and economical with words, Trillin takes on any aspect of American culture that strikes his fancy and gets to the nub of absurdity without ever resorting to sneers or viciousness. A delight, as Trillin's collections always are.

3-0 out of 5 stars Flashes of brilliance
Calvin Trillin has two qualities that distinguish him as a writer. One is a great talent for deadpan wit, and the other is a true amateur's enthusiasm for everything he tries.

The latter serves him best when he's writing about food, or about travel, or about everyday life in New York, but less so when he writes about politics and world events. His perspective on his own countrymen is often narrow, provincial, and downright condescending.He can't bring himself to admit that someone could hold different views from his and still be a moral person.

But no matter. There's still a nice variety of wit and droll observation contained in this volume to make up for the pieces that fall flat. ... Read more

8. Deciding the Next Decider: The 2008 Presidential Race in Rhyme
by Calvin Trillin
Hardcover: 128 Pages (2008-11-25)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400068282
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
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. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars I bought this as a gift but laughed paging through it
I didn't get to read it, but paging through it while wrapping as a gift, I want to borrow it back. Looked like a fun, quick read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Iambic pentameter KING
Calvin is such an intelligent man
It's hard to rhyme the names
But I've always been a fan!
No poem is ever the same!

3-0 out of 5 stars Kapow
Now that the presidential election of 2008 is over, and the new President is at work, it's time for the historians and poets to take over the explanation of what happened. Bud Trillin's new book, Deciding the Next Decider, condenses the long campaign into 100 pages, most of which is a long narrative poem. Trillin injects poems previously published in The Nation (where he has been the deadline poet since 1990) and elsewhere throughout the text.His song parodies are especially wicked. Every candidate in the campaign is skewered in verse, and I found myself reading a page or two again after I had stopped laughing. Trillin's talent soars on these few pages, and this book will entertain readers of all political persuasions.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)

1-0 out of 5 stars what's this make, 4 in a row?
Looks to me like Mr Trillin has a serious obsession going here -- or is it that he no longer has the talent to write a REAL book?

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Political Satire
Satire is the perfect weapon for bad political behavior in the hands of this genius. ... Read more

9. The Tummy Trilogy
by Calvin Trillin
Paperback: 400 Pages (1994-09-30)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$4.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374524173
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In the 1970s, Calvin Trillin informed America that its most glorious food was not to be found at the pretentious restaurants he referred 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.” Trillin’s three comic masterpieces are now available in what Trillin calls The Tummy Trilogy.
Amazon.com Review
Throughout the 1970s, as he wrote the "American Journal"feature for the New Yorker, Calvin Trillin crossed andrecrossed the continent. Braver than most transients, he dined inevery manner of restaurant, sampling all kinds of native cuisine. Hetirelessly sniffed out plain but great joints where the local peopleloved to eat. "[Don't take me to the] place you took your parents ontheir twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, [but] the place you went thenight you came home after fourteen months in Korea." As a result ofsuch hard-nosed pursuit of good food, this "Walt Whitman of Americaneats" produced three delightful books chronicling his gastronomicjourney, and they have now been collected into The TummyTrilogy. Trillin is a marvelous writer, affable and witty underany circumstances. He's also an extremely enthusiastic eater, so thebooks are filled with gourmet brio. Here's a sample from the firstbook, American Fried:

ME: Anybody who served a milkshake like this in Kansas City would be putin jail.

ALICE: You promised not to indulge in any of that hometown nostalgia whileI'm eating. You know it gives me indigestion.

ME: What nostalgia? Facts are facts. The kind of milkshake that Ipersonally consumed six hundred gallons of at the Country Club Dailyis an historical fact in three flavors. Your indigestion is not fromlistening to my fair-minded remarks on the food of a particularAmerican city. It's from drinking that gray skim milk this bandit istrying to pass off as a milkshake.

This book is almost as fun as tucking into a big, delicious meal (butno substitute, of course). Trillin's family, long-suffering in theface of a father's obsessions, is as winning as always. If you're adedicated fan--or just dipping into the writing of this good-naturedmaestro--The Tummy Trilogy is a wonderful book. --MichaelGerber ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

1-0 out of 5 stars Tummy
I still have not received my book and you or the seller have not responed to my emails.ARE you going to send me one or give me credit??????

I getting tired of no one responding.What gives???

3-0 out of 5 stars trillin but....
amusing but not as clever or bitingly witty as Traveling with Alice.Trillin is a great food writer but at times he needs to edit himself.His shorter works are more entertaining

5-0 out of 5 stars Fats Goldberg lives!
I seriously doubt when Calvin Trillin was knocking out this purple prose back in the early `70s that he ever considered himself a "food writer." I expect no one at the time save the M.F.K. Fishers and Elizabeth Davids of the world even considered that label for themselves. Besides, Mr. Trillin was--indeed, still is--funnier than hell about his gastronomical habits and so was likely slotted under "Humor" in disco-era bookshops--a fate, I'm sure, worse than literary death.I mention all this as a eulogy to how far we've come, category-wise; Mr. Trillin is indeed a food writer and a great one to boot. And even though he's been at this over thirty years his essential approach--*bon vivant* foodie, not frustrated chef or that hideous modern invention, "food critic"-- remains unique.

So how is it that someone scribbling about *eating* (not, mind you, *cooking*) can have me laughing out loud? And wouldn't a self-confessed "big eater" feel at least some desire to whip up what he puts away? Part of the answer lies in that essential dichotomy: Trillin seems vaguely aware that writing about consumption is ridiculous, but he lets us in on the game and, like any good comedian, takes his craft *very* seriously. Most of the stories in these three hilarious volumes have long been published elsewhere but taken together (they can easily be consumed in any order) they betray a level of culinary detail that I doubt any European 3-star Michelin grader could approach.

From the first pages a wonderful informality reigns; Trillin seems to write like I'd imagine he speaks, which in this context is near-perfect. Being invited to the kind of BBQ joints, Chinese restaurants, and fried chicken houses that he describes *demands* this kind of chatter and rather than rambling, the author's language almost seems made for his venues. (Starting with "the best restaurants in the world are, of course, in Kansas City. Not all of them; only the top four or five.") The folksiness not only serves the purpose; when it comes to food, Trillin makes it clear: it *is* the purpose.

Another delightful device is familiarized repetition: bringing back an issue (the paralyzing fear that unreadable Chinese on menus hides unimaginable gastronomic delights, for example) from a previous story helps us identify with Trillin's angst--but also betrays his quiet confidence that we *read* the previous part and know its importance. Bringing whole characters (e.g., Fats Goldberg, the pizza baron) back into the mix regularly is even more fun.

To be sure, after nearly four hundred pages the author has a few overlaps (at least a few titles start with "Confessions of ..."), but they're minor compared to his comic genius. Reading `The Tummy Trilogy' was delicious from start to finish and the only dated portions--best exemplified by continual slams against "continental cuisine" (exemplified by `La Maison de la Casa House')--still rang somewhat true, even playing to a thinly-disguised inverse snobbery.

My only regret after this satisfying meal was not getting a better picture of the author himself, despite his occasional family references. Perhaps that's not all bad; I doubt Mr. Trillin and I would get along. From his recent writing, he appears to be indulging in political fever-swamping (especially against Mr. Bush) which is a tragic waste of talent. While he admits his days as a "sausage-eating crank" may be behind him, I can only fervently wish otherwise.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writing and a delight even though much has changed on the American food scene
As far as I know, Calvin Trillin and I disagree on almost everything in government, economics, and legislation.However, he writes so well, that I prefer to forget the other and just remember how much he delights me with the music and fun of his words. This book is actually three books in one and all of them are about food.Trillin writes about food in a wonderfully charming way by using his family, friends, as well as the patrons, and restaurateurs he meets during his journeys in search of good eats.

"American Fried" is from 1974, "Alice, Let's Eat" from 1978, and "Third Helping" from 1983.The compilation has a new introduction that is, like the book, from 1994. America eating in the 1990s was much different than the way American's ate in 1974.Through the author's eyes (and tummy), we can recapture what it was like in those inglorious years for America's non-cuisine.Oh, there is plenty of bad food even in 2006, but it is much easier to find great food if you care to eat it.

Trillin is a wonderful storyteller.He has an eye for the telling and humorous detail and a great way with dialogue.These books are packed full of delightful anecdotes that illustrate local delights from all over the country (as well as horrors from all over the country).He has a special kindness that is never mean even while pointing out the ridiculous.

These remain fun books that I can recommend enthusiastically even though eating out on the American scene has changed a great deal since the years in which these books (this book) were written.


5-0 out of 5 stars How Much Do I Love This Book?
I stole it from a good friend on Easter Sunday no less, and I don't feel bad about it one bit.(Tho' I'm pretty sure stealing from someone on Easter has got to be bad karma.) ... Read more

10. Family Man
by Calvin Trillin
Paperback: 192 Pages (1999-06-30)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$5.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374525838
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
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.
Amazon.com Review
"Handing out advice on family matters is not my game," begins CalvinTrillin in Family Man, and indeed, those in search of practicalchild-rearing tips would be advised to look elsewhere. What Trillin doeshave to offer is a series of witty meditations on the art--not thescience--of parenthood. Nobody else has written quite so accurately aboutthe debunking genius of small children. And while Trillin conveys the joysand sorrows of family life with his customary drollness, what really getshim going is the high anxiety of being in loco parentis. When, forexample, a study reveals that most of our synapses are formed duringinfancy, the author is nonplused by the scientific breakthrough. He'squick, though, to latch on to this new opportunity forself-flagellation:

This business about the synapses struck me as the sort of finding thatcould have been designed to add to the concerns of those older parents whoalready spend some uncomfortable time, while trying to fall asleep atnight, thinking of ways that they may have shortchanged their children.Here is an entirely new subject, pushing aside old chestnuts like whetherthat really was the right summer camp or whether the purchase of the guitarmight have been to blame for everything that followed. Now, as they tossand turn, they can envision their children trying to compete in a globaleconomy with reduced brainpower.
This beleaguered dad does, it should be said, touch upon a handful of moregeneral topics, including the wacky world of contemporary weddingceremonies. At the heart of his book, though, is the alternatelyexasperating and endearing pageant of family life, chezTrillin, which features not only the author's smart-aleck daughters but also hiswife and perennial straight (wo)man, Alice. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Portrait of a happy family
I lost my first copy of this book when I visited a relative in the hospital and she asked if I had anything she could read. I liked it enough to go get another one. This is not a "and then we did this and then the next month we did that" sort of diary. Trillin describes the things his family liked to do together, and gradually the picture emerges: parents deeply involved with their children, not talking down to them or treating them as lil' tykes, but giving them a rich family life that includes a well-rounded cultural education (which sounds stuffy: it isn't).

Trillin's philosophy is "Either your children are the center of your life, or they're not," and this book details how he and his wife Alice centered their life around their daughters - involving themselves but never helicoptering. This is a lovely story.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well-Written, Funny and Engaging Look At Life With Children
This book is a collection of 16 essays by Calvin Trillin on the joys and travails of life with children. He has two daughters -- Abigail and Sarah -- and raised them with his wife Alice in Manhattan. (Although raising a family in Manhattan might make it seem like Mr. Trillin is from a rarefied world inaccessible to most of us, I found his writing to be down-to-earth, relatable and his observations about parenting to be fairly universal.) Mr. Trillin is a gifted writer, and I enjoyed reading his thoughts on family life immensely. He has an obvious love for his family, a great eye for detail, and a wonderful sense of humor.

This was my first time reading a book by Calvin Trillin. I'd heard of him and seen quotes by him and realized he was perhaps an important contemporary writer, but I'd never taken the time to read one of his books. I can unequivocally tell you that I will be reading more by Mr. Trillin as I think he might be the kind of writer who could write about virtually anything and I would enjoy reading it.

This isn't a book that begs for an in-depth review. It is an easy, humorous, enjoyable read that documents the author's life with his two daughters and his thoughts on parenting. More than anything, this book made me wish I could live in the Trillin family. Mr. Trillin seems like a wonderful father with an amusing and fun personality. I was particularly drawn to his love of Halloween, his obvious affection for his wife, and the family's dedication to making elaborate home movies. I wanted to grow up in the Trillin household!

While I was reading, I kept marking sections of the book to showcase passages that I think illustrate what a reader can expect in this book. I ended up having so many that I'm just going to go through and pick three or four that will give you the best "feel" for this book.

When our older daughter, Abigail, was four years old, she attended a progressive nursery school in lower Manhattan that was sweet and nurturing and, if I may say so, a little bit earnest. It was the sort of place where teachers would say to a kid who had just attacked another kid, "Use words not hands, dear." (At one point, we all began to wonder exactly what the words for sneaking up behind another kid and pulling her hair might be. All I could think of was something like "I'm a nasty little beast who deserves a good hiding.")

I tried to fulfill the mandate every American has to convince his children that they have a cushy deal compared with the deprivations and tribulations he had to face as a child. At one point, of course, I had to quit telling them that when I was a little boy in Kansas City, my sister, Sukey, and I walked ten miles barefoot through the snow just to get to school every morning. They got old enough to check it out. This is always an awkward transition for a parent -- the onset of what I think of as the age of independent confirmation of data. It seems to come rather suddenly. One moment, your daughters are accepting everything you say without reservation...the next moment, you've got a couple of private eyes in the house.

But we all felt that keeping a dog in the city would be too difficult. That left cats. When the girls were asked why we didn't have one, they always said "Daddy hates cats," to which I always replied, "No, girls, hating cats would be prejudice, and Mommy and I have tried to bring you up to oppose prejudice whenever you encounter it. What might be fair to say is that I have never met a cat I liked."

At the very least, parents wonder whether they should worry. I always found it comforting when I'd come across something I could decide not to worry about. Then I could cross it off the list. When Sarah was little, she had an imaginary friend named Craig Binnger. "Imaginary friends are supposed to have names like Jack or Popo or Tillie-bear," I said to Alice. "How come her friend sounds like a life insurance salesman?" Should we worry about that? No.

About the Author
Calvin Trillin is the author 19 previous books, including American Fried, Travels with Alice, Remembering Denny and Messages from My Father. A long-time staff writer for The New Yorker, he also wrote a column for Time and a weekly poem for The Nation. He was raised in Kansas City, Missouri and lives in New York City.

Final Thoughts
A fun, smart, delightful collection of essays on family life by a gifted writer. I'll definitely be reading more books by Mr. Trillin.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sweet and entertaining
I have read some columns by Calvin Trillin in the past, but not much more.I found this book about life with his wife and daughters very sweet and funny.He clearly loves them all very much, and they him.Lots of gentle ribbing from all sides along with poignant observations of his little girls growing up.Yet he never veers too far into saccharine territory.It's nice to read something so heartfelt and also so well written.

4-0 out of 5 stars We need more Family Men
Trillin is terrific and I only wish I had had a husband like him.I am moving on to his other books as soon as I can get them.

2-0 out of 5 stars Wrong Audience
I like where Trillin is going with this, but it just didn't do much for me. As a twenty-something recent college grad, I could relate more with Trillin's daughters than with him.

I sort of stumbled across this book and thought it looked like a fun read (I thought that it was going to be more of a novel than a memoir about him raising his children). I was not familiar with Trillin before reading this book (knew nothing of "Alice" and had never read his "tummy trilogy"), and I felt a little out of the loop, since this has more of an autobiographical feel and he makes several references to his past works.

The book has a light feel, isn't difficult to read, but I recommend it for audiences who perhaps have raised children and seen them leave the nest or for those who are familiar with Mr. Trillin's other writings. ... Read more

11. Obliviously On He Sails: The Bush Administration in Rhyme
by Calvin Trillin
Hardcover: 112 Pages (2004-06-01)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400062888
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
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.” ... Read more

Customer Reviews (30)

3-0 out of 5 stars Obliviously On He Sails
I was really excited to read this book.The concept sounded original and hilarious, and I was so sure I'd have a good time reading it.While reading, I found out that the poems were originally broadcast on a weekly radio show.This was a great idea.I would have much rather heard the poems in context with the world's events, rather than randomly combined in one book.I can understand someone wanting to read this after having heard the poems on the show, but other than that, this is definitely one of those books you want to pick up at the library, instead of purchasing it.I did enjoy the poems for the most part, although I really would have loved it if each poem had a blurb accompanying it, explaining the backstory behind the poem, as I found myself completely unfamiliar with the content of some of the poems.

5-0 out of 5 stars Iambic Brilliance
A tragicomic chronicle of the Bush Administration in rhyme.You can't get any closer to the truth about this president and his gang of thugs than in the pages of Trillin's biting, sardonic verses.

The wry Trillin had W pegged long before the rest of the country caught on.Deserving of every enlightened coffee table.

5-0 out of 5 stars more obliviously by the minute
Trillin is spot on with his poetic mockery of El Presidente Busho. It just gets worse. Can another book be far off? I laughed. Now, I'm weeping. This guy is one bad President. The Democrats took over Congress with an anti-war voter surge and Shrub wants to send in more troops? Sad. Our soldiers are dying and this guy wants to send more?! He is so OBLIVIOUS to reality.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE SOCIETY IN RHYME

3-0 out of 5 stars Pithily Wittily Political Poetry
It's August '06 and Tony Snow, White House Press Secretary, reveals that President Bush has just read Albert Camus' "The Stranger," cover to cover.Some of us might have been very surprised to hear this.But not readers of Calvin Trillin.Before GeorgeW.Bush("W") was first elected President, Trillin offered our towel-snapping frat guy President of the United States (that is, POTUS) the campaign slogan "Definitely not the Dumbest Guy in the Deke/Delta Kappa Epsilon/ House."

"Obliviously On He Sails" was evidently not written for Bush believers.It's an indictment in verse, and occasional prose of "old cowhand" W,"toughest ombre ever hid in the Guard."

From 1999 to 2004, the funny lines keep coming, gathered in chapters like "Just invade Something" and "The Charge of the Sissy Hawk Brigades (tanks and guns-- all manned, of course, by other people's sons."

Trillin's points are often made in short essays that precede the poems.But both are lethally to the point, pithily witty. and not likely to please Bush loyalists.But we knew that, didn't we? ... Read more

12. Killings
by Calvin Trillin
 Paperback: 256 Pages (1985-06-04)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$25.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140079777
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars magnificent
I read this book just as I was taking a job as a crime reporter in Stockton, California. It is simply tremendous in every way: engaging stories, well told, terrific reporting. Since read it three more times, I think. It helped me understand that in every murder, there is a novel, or at least a pretty good 12-inch story, usually not about how the person died, but about how he lived. That's how I began to approach murder stories in a town with a lot of them. BTW, the Casa Blanca story -- Todo Se Paga -- was fantastic. I tried to feel that story in writing a story about a lynching in Mexico in my first book.
Sam Quinones, [...].

5-0 out of 5 stars Mr. Trillin did a good job
I got a couple chances to read this book and I found the chapters to be vivid. Not just because one chapter is about the neighborhood I arrived in when I was only 3 days old. But because he explains it all too well as if he was there every step of the way. I am from Casa Blanca, a small neighborhood in Riverside,Ca. Download my brand new e.p. to hear my experiences. [...]

5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't wait to return to the next essay
So unlike the modern obsession with glamor or headline-grabbing murderers or victims, this enthralling book collects a set of stories about killings that probably never should have happened. I almost felt as if I were back in the decades in which the essays were first written, from 1969-1982, so vivid are the details of setting and character. Exemplary journalistic writing.
I have only one minor complaint, not even enough to subtract a star. That is, I wanted to know more about the ultimate outcomes of the cases. I'd like to see an updated edition with more information!

5-0 out of 5 stars Return this to print:it's a classic!
This book is the stuff of a classic and should not have been allowed to go out of print.The measure of a good to great book as far as I am concerned is that it represents not only the issues of the individual but also sends out definitive postcards from a certain time and place.Reading this collection of crime reportage that originally appeared in The New Yorker magazine in the author's "U.S. Journal" series, from 1969 to 1982, I am astounded how Trillin intuited the local and global struggles that continue to define the post 1960's social watershed in American precincts beyond more cosmopolitan cities.

Trillin says that the story inherent in a sudden death-homicide, suicide or accident-is more often about how people live or the society in which they move.He finds understanding the place essential to understanding the crime.Most of the deaths are due to murder (the Penguin paperback cover blurbs say all are, but that's not true), and most take place in neighborhoods and among people of which townsfolk would say, but that wouldn't happen here and to them.Even when the death occurs in Miami (a prominent defense attorney), a barrio in Riverside, California, or in Tucson where alarms and guard dogs had become a way of life, the death is still a surprise.

KILLINGS is first class journalism.The author's prose is fluent, immediate, and his information is beautifully ordered. You never know at the outset of a given story who will be the killer or the killed. He keeps himself entirely out of the action and is never judgmental.In an afterward he notes that one of the key players in a story later said of what appeared in the magazine, "If he had come two weeks later, he would have written a different story." Trillin agrees that this can be true-a writer enters the story at a particular plateau and much of the finished product depends on the known facts and current emotions on that plateau.All the same, while reading these stories, I had keen memories of the times and culture from which they sprang, and they still stand as short, accurate histories.Learning at a later time, for instance, who actually killed that defense attorney would not change the long term lessons of his story.

5-0 out of 5 stars I LOVE THIS BOOK
This book of essays is sad and beautiful.In general, I have always liked Trillin, but some of his humor pieces can be a little too cute.These essays, which originally appeared in the New Yorker, are very spare and moving.Each tells the story of a person killed--by accident, by murder, by abuse--and each essay is absorbing, melancholy and invested with meaning.The format makes the book an easy one to read and a good one for when you do not have a lot of time to read: each essay stands on its own.I have read this book at least twice in its entirety and some of the essays several times.The writing is skilled and precise.Trillin never lapses into sanctimony or sentimentality.I have recommended this book to many, and actually ended up loaning my copy to someone who liked it so much he wouldn't give it back!(I found a used copy on amazon for cheap and stopped bugging him to return it.)I love this book and wish it were more widely read. ... Read more

13. Runestruck
by Calvin Trillin
 Hardcover: 182 Pages (1977)
-- used & new: US$137.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316852759
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Grab this Hilarious Book if you possibly can!
This is the wonderful story of a cryptic runestone which two lunkheaded gas station attendants find while clamming in Maine.Everyone in town either becomes a Viking enthusiast(for tourism) or a sceptic (for a varietyof reasons).The Down East Country music lyrics composed by the 2 heroes,like "The Overalls I Wear May be Green, but I'm the Bluest CarMechanic You Ever Have Seen," are alone worth the price of the book. I've read this at least 7 times, and encourage everyone else to do so aswell! ... Read more

14. Astorians, Eccentric and Extraordinary
Paperback: 224 Pages (2010-11-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$13.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0870716328
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In 1993, the New Yorker published Calvin Trillin's memorable article on the eccentric Flavel family of Astoria, the descendants of Captain George Flavel, whose ornate Queen-Anne-style mansion is a tourist draw today. With Trillin's gracious consent, "First Family of Astoria" is reprinted in Part One of Astorians, Eccentric and Extraordinary, making its first appearance in book form.

Part Two carries on the theme with portraits of fifty-five other notable Astorians. Five Oregon writers have captured the essence and the flavor of vivid personalities that include the notorious shanghaier Bridget Grant; the charming scoundrel Mayor Francis Clay Harley; the elusive English "barmaid" Jane Barnes, the first white woman in the Pacific Northwest; and Rolf Klep, who believed he could create a major maritime museum in an economically depressed town--and made it happen.

In biology, it is said that the richest life forms reside at the edge of the ecosystem. Astoria epitomizes edges--the edge of the country, the edge of a great river, the edge of the Pacific Ocean, and the edge of our American culture. This book celebrates the larger-than-life quality that has appeared with regularity in the town's two-hundred-year history. As Steve Forrester, publisher of the Daily Astorian, notes in the book's introduction: "Extraordinary people are not necessarily eccentric. But eccentrics are driven to do extraordinary things." Contributors include M. J. Cody, Amy Hoffman Couture, John E. Goodenberger, Nancy Ricker Hoffman, Liisa Penner, and Calvin Trillin. ... Read more

15. They Went: The Art and Craft of Travel Writing (The Writer's Craft)
by Andrea Lee, Ian Frazier, Mark Salzman, Calvin Trillin, Vivian Gornick, Tobias Schneebaum
 Paperback: 184 Pages (1991-03-13)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$3.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0395563372
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars They Went over board
The art and craft of travel writing is exactly what it sounds like.The introduction

gives a brief layout of the chapters ahead.In the introduction the main points are presented for each section. Ian Frazier writing about the Great Plains presents many facts of the Great Plains, but the real story comes from his thoughts.The thoughts of his carving his name in the wall, is a fact of thought that brings you closer to him as a person.Frazier makes his story come alive with his personal experiences and quoted comments. Andrea Lee traveled to Russia to get the experience to write a book.She made extensive notes on each person she came in contact with.These people and the feelings of the country were to be her story.Throughout the time she lived in Russia Andrea recognized people living double lives. People living double lives are people relaying information back to their mother country.She was going after passion and empathy, but I do not believe she achieved her goal. Wrote the "The Peopling Landscape."The stand out story in this review was personal experiences between her father the amateur astronomer and herself at the age of seven years old.At the age of seven her father toke her and her bother to Virginia to see an eclipse.

4-0 out of 5 stars Two ways to travel and write about it
If you are planning to travel and write about it afterwards, the message of They Went is that you can travel as an incomplete person and work out who you are by traveling to other places, or as a complete person who wantsto see another part of the world. Adrea Lee and Vivian Gornick werereporters who were incomplete persons working out their own minds. CalvinTrillin and Ian Frazier went out to report on the United States withcompleteness in their every step. Mark Salzman and Tobias Schneebaumdid their travels without an audience in mind. But Salzman wrote aboutwhere he visited, and Schneebaum wrote as a way of dealing with past eventsand "personal demons." All six authors include practical advicefor travel writing, if you look for it. From Frazier you can see theexample of visiting a place, reading about it, and revisiting it to see itmore clearly. You can follow Frazier's advice to take the favorite thingsyou want to write about most and put them together as a book. From Lee youcan learn "to draw on whatever passion and empathy you can, based on yourown experience, and then step back and stay out of the picture." From Salzman you can learn to string together "small, jewel like episodes" intochapters for your book. FromGornick , how to keep files on people youknow and not let your subject get away from you. From Trillinyou canlearn how to "individualize by specific detail" in your writing, and fromSchneebaumyou can learn that you should use a journal to organize youexperiences. ... Read more

by Calvin Trillin
 Hardcover: 204 Pages (1980-10-22)
list price: US$9.95
Isbn: 0899190170
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Literate and witty
Not laugh out loud, elbow in the ribs funny, but very amusing. Hollywood could have a hit making this into a movie. The overarching question of the book, "Is the First Lady pregnant?" is, as Hitchcock would put it, a McGuffin.

Read this book and any reference to x-rated topiary, 3/4rds stockings, and left-handed dentists will have you grinning.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Small Comedic Masterpiece
This novel is a comedic delight. "Floater" is the writing job at a fictional news magazine held by the book's central character Fred Becker. (It's also a job Trillin once held in his pre-New Yorker days.) A "floater" does not have a permanent assignment, but moves from one section of the magazine to another as illness or other reason creates a temporary need. The story takes place over one week in the life of the magazine, and finds Becker wrestling with an intriguing news tip, that, if true, could lead to a significant change in his life.

Trillin's gift for illuminating the absurdities of life really shine here. The plot, while entertaining,takes a back seat to the stable of realistic characters that just about anyone who has spent time in an office will recognize--the glad-handler, the martyr, the hypochondriac, the guy you want to avoid going to lunch with, the champion of political correctness, and others.

It's a puzzle to me that this hilarious book has been allowed to go out of print. Though I've been a fan of Trillin for some time, I have to given thanks to Sara Nelson and her recent book, "So Many Books, So Little Time," for calling my attention to this forgotten gem.--William C. Hall

5-0 out of 5 stars Just-about-perfect novel
This book from 1980 is startlingly fresh.If we adjust the dollar amounts for book contracts to today's values, and concede that one character might have started the SUV craze, it is absolutely contemporary.

The book's insistence on Manhattan Island as the center of the universe would be annoying to non-New Yorkers.This is unfortunate, since the characters are mostly from outside Manhattan (as is the author) and their interaction doesn't depend at all on their location.

If the reader is able to deal with the Manhattan smugness, he will be amply rewarded with a plot and a cast of characters as perfectly drawn as any by Eric Ambler, in addition to a sly sense of humor which builds imperceptibly to a perfectly hilarious conclusion.

Trillin almost could have dispensed altogether with his lovely plot, as his characters could carry most novels all by themselves.

In addition to being a just-about-perfect exposition of the writer's craft, this book is also laugh-out-loud funny, literally. ... Read more

17. Questionstruck: A Collection of Question-Based Texts Derived from the Books of Calvin Trillin
by William Walsh
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-10-27)
list price: US$4.99
Asin: B002Y26R2W
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A Book of Questions…
Questionstruck traces the line of questioning throughout Calvin Trillin’s books, compiling all of Trillin's interrogatives—the rhetorical, the political, and the victual—into one dizzying collection. Echoing Trillin's food and travel books, his reports in The New Yorker, and his political verse in The Nation, Questionstruck is an inventive and experimental text that begs to be defined.

"Master recontextualizer William Walsh has pulled off an unlikely feat:
he didn't write a word of this book, and yet its twisted pleasures
couldn't possibly belong to anyone else. He has managed to transform
the collected works of Calvin Trillin into some kind of whacked-out
koan, a strangely compelling harangue that will leave you dumbstruck."
—J. Robert Lennon

William Walsh is the author of Without Wax: A Documentary Novel. His fiction and derived texts have appeared in New York Tyrant, Juked, Caketrain, Rosebud, Quarterly West, Lit, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and other journals.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Is there anything else like this book? (No, there's not).
I loved Walsh's debut novel Without Wax, and think this book, while completely different in every way, was just as enjoyable, once I learned how to read it: Its pages are derived from the works of Calvin Trillin, resulting in new pieces that compile and arrange Trillin's questions into new lines of thought and inquiry, creating a brand new effect that is both interesting as a product and evocative and witty as literature.This is actual experimental writing, unlike so much of what claims that tag, and impressively done.Having read much of Walsh's recently published work, it's interesting to see how much of his intellect and humor and heart I can sense behind these pages.Using selection and arrangement, he's the one creating the new experience of reading these now out-of-context questions, and while the words in Questionstruck were written by Trillin, there's no doubt that the experience is all Walsh, and brilliantly so. ... Read more

by Calvin Trillin
 Paperback: Pages (1992-10-06)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$7.08
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0395647290
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Real-life stories from around the country
Calvin Trillin has long been a writer of non-fiction pieces for The New Yorker magazine. He was the author of many of the pieces that appeared under the title of "U.S. Journal," - human interest articles from all over the country. Later he authored a longer series entitled "American Chronicles," which was pretty much the same kind of thing, only deeper in scope and with the narrative more fleshed out. This book collects a dozen of those pieces, all written between 1984 and 1991. All of them are fascinating stories, the type of stories, as Trillin writes, "you might tell in front of a fire."

Few of his stories captured national attention, or if they did, they rarely did so for long. But on the local level, many were riveting events: the killing of a child molester by a teenager in Oregon, a property dispute between two landowners in Virginia that led to a homicide, the murder of a man in Kansas by a minister who was having an affair with his wife. Legal issues and murder are prominent factors in many of these pieces, but Trillin also writes about less shocking things: the Ben & Jerry ice cream company, the magicians Penn & Teller, and the story of drive-in movie reviewer Joe Bob Briggs (perhaps the best of them all). Trillin writes clearly and directly; his ability to clarify convoluted plot developments (real life unfolds in a bumpy fashion) is most impressive. All of them, indeed, have that wonderful feeling of being told "in front of a fire." Entertaining and informative, it's non-fiction human interest writing at its best.

5-0 out of 5 stars If I could give it ten stars, I would!
It's criminal that Calvin Trillin's superb "American Stories" is out of print.Trillin gives us a look at, among other things, a drive-in-movie-theatre critic; a crime reporter; an obscure 1950s singing group; an insistent property-rights battle in Virginia; and so much more.Every single one of these stories--while not something you might find yourself hankering to read about, exactly--becomes something utterly fascinating in Trillin's capable hands.Frankly, I think that Calvin Trillin could make lard production an absorbing read.

Trillin's inimitably calm, deadpan voice is in fine form here.Just a quick sample, from a piece about a dispute between Pillsbury and Ben & Jerry's ice cream:

The campaign started slowly, but eventually thousands of people called the Doughboy Hot Line, and thousands of words appeared in the press about Ben & Jerry's . . . Some of the letters people sent to Pillsbury or Häagen-Dazs were businesslike ("I would like to admonish you to adopt a policy of fair play"), but it was more typical for them to express outrage at "the desire to use the corporate heel to stamp out your competition" or to begin by saying "CORPORATIONS LIKE YOURS REALLY MAKE ME SICK!"A remarkable number of the letters of support received by Ben & Jerry's mentioned the writer's favorite flavor; some of them even mentioned the writer's favorite flavor of Häagen-Dazs.One of them was signed "Helene 'Dastardly Mash' Jones."Some of them were from outraged schoolchildren, who offered to help by, say, forming gangs of Doughboy Busters.

This is but a tiny example of the riches available in this most satisfying book.Read it and laugh out loud and enjoy the glittering mosaic of America that Trillin presents here.

5-0 out of 5 stars Story should be in this book (patdfoss@aol.com)
Can anybody help me find the story Calvin Trillin wrote about the Jenkins (amazing) suicide in Austin Texas, in l988 or l989?it was published in the New Yorker Magazine in the same issue with the review of Woody Allen'sCrimes and Misdemeanors.Don't know how else to find this help. If anybodyreads this, thank you very much.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterwork of Journalistic Storytelling
In a style that couldn't be more his own, Trillin fascinates his audience with bizzare and distinctly "American" tales of true life. Shocking, moving, and sometimes hilarious, American Stories is a must-read for fansof the short-story genre. One glimpse of this potent recipe of Americanoriginality will have the reader espousing more hyperbole than Ross Perotat a revival meeting.

Trillin has the unique ability to not only tellthe story, but to place the reader in the very real places he's writingabout. This volume is a textbook example of how to achieve the delicatebalance between passion and observation and it beautifully showcasesTrillin's wit, wisdom and quirk. ... Read more

19. Enough's Enough (And Other Rules of Life)
by Calvin Trillin
 Paperback: Pages (1992-02-10)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$4.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0395611601
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A lot of fun.
Calvin Trillin is a delightfully funny writer, somewhat reminiscent of Dave Barry with a touch of Mike Royko thrown in. This book was written around the end of the 1980s, so some of the topics are a bit dated. This is no problem for those of us not only old enough to remember the late '80s, but old enough to find it hard to believe that they were really almost 20 years ago (wasn't all of that just the other day?) but younger readers might wonder what some of the columns were actually about. This makes it not only funny, but educational. Good for the young whippersnappers to discover that the world was already darned silly back in the dark ages. Maybe some of them will actually look up some of the topics and learn something. Maybe pigs will fly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Never enough from this cumudgen
Have you heard about the Retentive family of Canada? That's not their real name,it's just what Calvin Trillin dubbed them after reading somewhere that there was a family of four that produced only three bags of garbage a year.Trillin seems to excell in writing about the obvious,odd and ponderable. If he didn't display (quietly)such a sense of humor,I would
suspect he was the neighborhood "Hey you kids, get off my lawn",guy. Every neighborhood has one, the guy who vigilantly guards his lawnagainst attacks by footballs, frisbees and the damages caused by 42 pound children cutting across the corner). Actually, Mr. Trillin is a sane voice in these times when we are bombarded with information and seem to have lost the ability to sort through the drivel think for ourselves. When asked about childcrearing advice he opines "get one that doesn't spit up." This collection of his syndicated columns is sure to delight,amuse,irritate and to make you think.
... Read more

20. An Evening With Garrison Keillor, Maya Angelou, Laurie Colwin, Tom Wolfe: A Gala Evening of Readings to Benefit the Homeless
by Calvin Trillin
 Audio Cassette: Pages (1991-10)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$6.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1558004017
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