Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Friday, June 13, 2014

Book 326: The Benchley Roundup

The Benchley Roundup, essays by Robert Benchley, collected by Nathaniel Benchley, University of Chicago Press, 1954.

Several months ago, I discovered that Nathaniel Benchley (author of a Ghost Called Fred and Sam the Minuteman) was indeed the son of Robert Benchley.  I also discovered that he put together a collection of his father's essays.  And I also bought that collection and began reading it.

The Foreword of this book serves as a forewarning -- Do not read this book all at once.  Parcel it out and read it in between other books, and it works rather like a sorbet.

Some of the essays are dated, which is not really a surprise considering he lived in an era when men did wear bowler hats and not ironically.  Other essays are timeless.  All are very funny.  Benchley, compared to Dorothy Parker, has a gentle wit.  His wit is every bit as sharp as Parker's, but the subject of the wit will laugh as well as the audience.

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