Two times makes it a tradition.
I am reading Charlotte’s Web, the classic E. B. White children’s novel, to my kids for about the 10th time. I don’t know if it is the 10th time or not. After about four readings I lost track. Let’s just say it is as familiar to me now as any book I have ever read.
I mention this book today because tomorrow, September 7, is a significant day in the story. It is the day when Wilbur wins his medal, when he cajoles and bargains with Templeton to save Charlotte’s egg sac, and he leaves Charlotte alone, at the Fair, where she will die.
The book is 60 years old, the best-selling children’s book of all time (according to Wikipedia), and though I have now read it more times than I can keep track of, I do not tire of it. Garth Williams’ illustrations still amuse and enlighten. White’s prose still sparkles. I still cry at the end, which my children did not understand the first few times but they do now. Malcolm swears off bacon for a few weeks after each reading.
So I hereby declare September 7 to be Charlotte’s Web Day.
Here are some quotes I love.
As my friend Eric likes to quote:
Here’s to you, Charlotte.
Not a book but a short story in the latest issue of the New Yorker.
I usually like the fiction pieces in the NY but this particular story, in its surrealism, seemed to tell me a truth I already knew but had forgotten. I immediately sat down to google Stephen O’Connor (the author) to find out more. He sounds like a compelling person.
The religious nature of the story continues a recent trend in NY fiction. Last week’s story was also very compelling, a kind of Flannery O’Connor-esque morality tale. O’Connor. There’s another trend. I expect next week’s fiction piece to have an O’Connor connection as well.
Speaking of New Yorker threads, has anyone else noticed the subtle vocabulary threads in each issue, where a single uncommon word might appear in multiple pieces in the issue? The editors must enjoy finding those connections in their submissions.