Tuesday, October 7, 2014

James Thurber Discussion

The library will host a discussion of two stories by James Thurber as part of its Book Club for Writers program on Thursday, October 23 at 7:00 PM. Copies of “The Catbird Seat” and “You Could Look It Up” will be available in advance at the library, and the discussion will be free and open to the public.

James Thurber (1894–1961) was one of America’s foremost humorists, best known for his cartoons and short stories, which mostly appeared in The New Yorker. He began his career in journalism with his hometown newspaper, the Columbus (OH) Dispatch, and moved to New York to work for the New York Evening Post. With the help of E. B. White, he joined the staff of The New Yorker as an editor in 1927, but did not begin his career as a cartoonist until 1930, when White found some of his cartoons in the trash and submitted them for publication in the magazine.

Thurber’s best-known works include Is Sex Necessary? (co-written with E. B. White), My Life and Hard Times, The Middle-Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze, My World and Welcome to It, and the short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” one of the most frequently anthologized stories in American literature. “Mitty” was adapted for a 1947 film starring Danny Kaye – an adaptation that Thurber disliked – and was recently adapted a second time for a film released last year. Thurber’s work has also inspired other films, plays, and television shows; “The Catbird Seat” was the basis for the movie The Battle of the Sexes. The Thurber Prize for American Humor is named in his honor.

Book Club for Writers is a fiction discussion program that meets four times a year. Discussions are open to all, and focus particularly on questions of craft and technique that will interest writers and aspiring writers. Created by the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, Book Club for Writers is sponsored locally by a fiction writing group that meets weekly at the Haverhill Corner Library.

The next Book Club for Writers discussion will be held January 15, 2015 and will feature “A Conversation with My Father” by Grace Paley and “The Harvest” by Amy Hempel.

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