The Story of Charlotte's Web
E. B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic
By Michael Sims
(Walker & Company, Paperback, 9780802778161, 320pp.)
Publication Date: May 22, 2012
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While composing what would become his most enduring and popular book, E. B. White obeyed that oft-repeated maxim: "Write what you know." Helpless pigs, silly geese, clever spiders, greedy rats—White knew all of these characters in the barns and stables where he spent his favorite hours as a child and adult. Painfully shy, "this boy," White once wrote of himself, "felt for animals a kinship he never felt for people." It’s all the more impressive, therefore, how many people have felt a kinship with E. B. White.
Michael Sims chronicles White’s animal-rich childhood, his writing about urban nature for the New Yorker, his scientific research into how spiders spin webs and lay eggs, his friendship with his legendary editor, Ursula Nordstrom, the composition and publication of his masterpiece, and his ongoing quest to recapture an enchanted childhood.
Michael Sims is the author of acclaimed nonfiction books such as Apollo's Fire and Adam's Navel, and the editor of anthologies including The Dead Witness and Dracula's Guest, connoisseurs' collections of Victorian detective and vampire stories, respectively. He lives near Pittsburgh.
In his new book, The Story of Charlotte's Web, writer Michael Sims traces the life of E.B. White. From White's childhood in suburban New York and rural Maine, to his adult years as a New Yorker writer, Sims shows how White's experiences in nature shaped his classic novel. More at NPR.org
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