About Alice

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BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Calvin Trillin's Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin.

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.
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About the author

Calvin Trillin has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1963. He lives in New York.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Dec 26, 2006
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Pages
96
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ISBN
9781588365781
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Literary
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Family & Relationships / Death, Grief, Bereavement
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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True stories of sudden death in the classic collection by a master of American journalism

“Reporters love murders,” Calvin Trillin writes in the introduction to Killings. “In a pinch, what the lawyers call ‘wrongful death’ will do, particularly if it’s sudden.” Killings, first published in 1984 and expanded for this edition, shows Trillin to be such a reporter, drawn time after time to tales of sudden death. But Trillin is attracted less by violence or police procedure than by the way the fabric of people’s lives is suddenly exposed when someone comes to an untimely end.  As Trillin says, Killings is “more about how Americans live than about how some of them die.”

These stories, which originally appeared in The New Yorker between 1969 and 2010, are vivid portraits of lives cut short. An upstanding farmer in Iowa finds himself drastically changed by a woman he meets in a cocktail lounge. An eccentric old man in Eastern Kentucky is enraged by the presence of a documentary filmmaker. Two women move to a bucolic Virginia county to find peace, only to end up at war over a shared road. Mexican American families in California hand down a feud from generation to generation. A high-living criminal-defense lawyer in Miami acquires any number of enemies capable of killing him. 

Stark and compassionate, deeply observed and beautifully written, Killings is “that rarity, reportage as art” (William Geist, The New York Times Book Review).

Praise for Killings

“Riveting tales of murder and mayhem. . . . [Calvin] Trillin is a superb writer, with a magical ability to turn even the most mundane detail into spellbinding wonder. Armed with this wealth of material, he utterly shines. Every piece here is a gem.”—The Seattle Times

“What Mr. Trillin does so well, what makes Killings literature, is the way he pictures the lives that were interrupted by the murders. Even the most ordinary life makes a terrible noise . . . when it’s broken off.”—Anatole Broyard, The New York Times

“Fascinating, troubling . . . In each of these stories is the basis of a Dostoevskian novel.”—Edward Abbey, Chicago Sun-Times

“The stories . . . are unforgettable. They leave us, finally, with the awareness of the unknowable opacity of the human heart.”—Bruce Colman, San Francisco Chronicle

“[Trillin] writes brilliantly. . . . These stories still hold up, as classics.”—The Buffalo News

“In his artful ability to conjure up a whole life and a whole world, Trillin comes as close to achieving the power of a Chekhov short story as can anyone whose material is so implacably tied to fact.”—Frederick Iseman, Harper’s Bazaar

“I have a book for you true-crime addicts if you’re caught up on the podcast Serial, the cascade on TV of 48 Hours and Dateline NBC episodes. . . . It’s time to pick up Calvin Trillin’s Killings.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Well-crafted and thoughtfully composed, lacking judgment and admonishment, these are a true piece of quality journalism, which clearly continues to captivate audiences.”—Library Journal

“With telling detail and shrewd insights, [Calvin Trillin] masterfully evokes the places and personalities that hatched these grim episodes.”—Publishers Weekly
The acclaimed New York Times bestseller by Sue Klebold, mother of one of the Columbine shooters, about living in the aftermath of Columbine.

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.
 
For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?
 
These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.
 
Filled with hard-won wisdom and compassion, A Mother’s Reckoning is a powerful and haunting book that sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of our time. And with fresh wounds from the Newtown and Charleston shootings, never has the need for understanding been more urgent.
 
All author profits from the book will be donated to research and to charitable organizations focusing on mental health issues.

— Washington Post, Best Memoirs of 2016

#1 New York Times Best Seller
Named a Best Book of 2017 by Barnes & Noble and Amazon 

From Facebook’s COO and Wharton’s top-rated professor, the #1 New York Times best-selling authors of Lean In and Originals: a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.
 
After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.
Option B combines Sheryl’s personal insights with Adam’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart—and her journal—to describe the acute grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. But Option B goes beyond Sheryl’s loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.
Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.
We all live some form of Option B. This book will help us all make the most of it.
For at least forty years, Calvin Trillin has committed blatant acts of funniness all over the place—in The New Yorker, in one-man off-Broadway shows, in his “deadline poetry” for The Nation, in comic novels like Tepper Isn’t Going Out, in books chronicling his adventures as a happy eater, and in the column USA Today called “simply the funniest regular column in journalism.”

Now Trillin selects the best of his funny stuff and organizes it into topics like high finance (“My long-term investment strategy has been criticized as being entirely too dependent on Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes”) and the literary life (“The average shelf life of a book is somewhere between milk and yogurt.”)

In Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin, the author deals with such subjects as the horrors of witnessing a voodoo economics ceremony and the mystery of how his mother managed for thirty years to feed her family nothing but leftovers (“We have a team of anthropologists in there now looking for the original meal”) and the true story behind the Shoe Bomber: “The one terrorist in England with a sense of humor, a man known as Khalid the Droll, had said to the cell, ‘I bet I can get them all to take off their shoes in airports.’ ” He remembers Sarah Palin with a poem called “On a Clear Day, I See Vladivostok” and John Edwards with one called “Yes, I Know He’s a Mill Worker’s Son, but There’s Hollywood in That Hair.”

In this, the definitive collection of his humor, Calvin Trillin is prescient, insightful, and invariably hilarious.


From the Hardcover edition.
In his latest laugh-out-loud book of political verse, Calvin Trillin provides a riotous depiction of the 2012 presidential election campaign.
 
Dogfight is a narrative poem interrupted regularly by other poems and occasionally by what the author calls a pause for prose (“Callista Gingrich, Aware That Her Husband Has Cheated On and Then Left Two Wives Who Had Serious Illnesses, Tries Desperately to Make Light of a Bad Cough”). With the same barbed wit he displayed in the bestsellers Deciding the Next Decider, Obliviously On He Sails, and A Heckuva Job, America’s deadline poet trains his sights on the Tea Party (“These folks were quick to vocally condemn/All handouts but the ones that went to them”) and the slapstick field of contenders for the Republican nomination (“Though first-tier candidates were mostly out,/Republicans were asking, “What about/The second tier or what about the third?/Has nothing from those other tiers been heard?”). There is an ode to Michele Bachmann, sung to the tune of a Beatles classic (“Michele, our belle/Thinks that gays will all be sent to hell”) and passages on the exit of candidates like Herman Cain (“Although his patter in debates could tickle,/Cain’s pool of knowledge seemed less pool than trickle”) and Rick Santorum (“The race will miss the purity/That you alone endow./We’ll never find another man/Who’s holier than thou.”)
 
On its way to the November 6 finale, Trillin’s narrative takes us through such highlights as the January caucuses in frigid Iowa (“To listen to long speeches is your duty,/And getting there could freeze off your patootie”), the Republican convention (“It seemed like Clint, his chair, and their vignette/Had wandered in from some adjoining set”), and Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded “47 percent” speech, which inspired the “I Got the Mitt Thinks I’m a Moocher, a Taker not a Maker, Blues.”


From the Hardcover edition.
True stories of sudden death in the classic collection by a master of American journalism

“Reporters love murders,” Calvin Trillin writes in the introduction to Killings. “In a pinch, what the lawyers call ‘wrongful death’ will do, particularly if it’s sudden.” Killings, first published in 1984 and expanded for this edition, shows Trillin to be such a reporter, drawn time after time to tales of sudden death. But Trillin is attracted less by violence or police procedure than by the way the fabric of people’s lives is suddenly exposed when someone comes to an untimely end.  As Trillin says, Killings is “more about how Americans live than about how some of them die.”

These stories, which originally appeared in The New Yorker between 1969 and 2010, are vivid portraits of lives cut short. An upstanding farmer in Iowa finds himself drastically changed by a woman he meets in a cocktail lounge. An eccentric old man in Eastern Kentucky is enraged by the presence of a documentary filmmaker. Two women move to a bucolic Virginia county to find peace, only to end up at war over a shared road. Mexican American families in California hand down a feud from generation to generation. A high-living criminal-defense lawyer in Miami acquires any number of enemies capable of killing him. 

Stark and compassionate, deeply observed and beautifully written, Killings is “that rarity, reportage as art” (William Geist, The New York Times Book Review).

Praise for Killings

“Riveting tales of murder and mayhem. . . . [Calvin] Trillin is a superb writer, with a magical ability to turn even the most mundane detail into spellbinding wonder. Armed with this wealth of material, he utterly shines. Every piece here is a gem.”—The Seattle Times

“What Mr. Trillin does so well, what makes Killings literature, is the way he pictures the lives that were interrupted by the murders. Even the most ordinary life makes a terrible noise . . . when it’s broken off.”—Anatole Broyard, The New York Times

“Fascinating, troubling . . . In each of these stories is the basis of a Dostoevskian novel.”—Edward Abbey, Chicago Sun-Times

“The stories . . . are unforgettable. They leave us, finally, with the awareness of the unknowable opacity of the human heart.”—Bruce Colman, San Francisco Chronicle

“[Trillin] writes brilliantly. . . . These stories still hold up, as classics.”—The Buffalo News

“In his artful ability to conjure up a whole life and a whole world, Trillin comes as close to achieving the power of a Chekhov short story as can anyone whose material is so implacably tied to fact.”—Frederick Iseman, Harper’s Bazaar

“I have a book for you true-crime addicts if you’re caught up on the podcast Serial, the cascade on TV of 48 Hours and Dateline NBC episodes. . . . It’s time to pick up Calvin Trillin’s Killings.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Well-crafted and thoughtfully composed, lacking judgment and admonishment, these are a true piece of quality journalism, which clearly continues to captivate audiences.”—Library Journal

“With telling detail and shrewd insights, [Calvin Trillin] masterfully evokes the places and personalities that hatched these grim episodes.”—Publishers Weekly
For at least forty years, Calvin Trillin has committed blatant acts of funniness all over the place—in The New Yorker, in one-man off-Broadway shows, in his “deadline poetry” for The Nation, in comic novels like Tepper Isn’t Going Out, in books chronicling his adventures as a happy eater, and in the column USA Today called “simply the funniest regular column in journalism.”

Now Trillin selects the best of his funny stuff and organizes it into topics like high finance (“My long-term investment strategy has been criticized as being entirely too dependent on Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes”) and the literary life (“The average shelf life of a book is somewhere between milk and yogurt.”)

In Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin, the author deals with such subjects as the horrors of witnessing a voodoo economics ceremony and the mystery of how his mother managed for thirty years to feed her family nothing but leftovers (“We have a team of anthropologists in there now looking for the original meal”) and the true story behind the Shoe Bomber: “The one terrorist in England with a sense of humor, a man known as Khalid the Droll, had said to the cell, ‘I bet I can get them all to take off their shoes in airports.’ ” He remembers Sarah Palin with a poem called “On a Clear Day, I See Vladivostok” and John Edwards with one called “Yes, I Know He’s a Mill Worker’s Son, but There’s Hollywood in That Hair.”

In this, the definitive collection of his humor, Calvin Trillin is prescient, insightful, and invariably hilarious.


From the Hardcover edition.
From bestselling author and beloved New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin, a deeply resonant, career-spanning collection of articles on race and racism, from the 1960s to the present

In the early sixties, Calvin Trillin got his start as a journalist covering the Civil Rights Movement in the South. Over the next five decades of reporting, he often returned to scenes of racial tension. Now, for the first time, the best of Trillin’s pieces on race in America have been collected in one volume.

In the title essay of Jackson, 1964, we experience Trillin’s riveting coverage of the pathbreaking voter registration drive known as the Mississippi Summer Project—coverage that includes an unforgettable airplane conversation between Martin Luther King, Jr., and a young white man sitting across the aisle. (“I’d like to be loved by everyone,” King tells him, “but we can’t always wait for love.”)

In the years that follow, Trillin rides along with the National Guard units assigned to patrol black neighborhoods in Wilmington, Delaware; reports on the case of a black homeowner accused of manslaughter in the death of a white teenager in an overwhelmingly white Long Island suburb; and chronicles the remarkable fortunes of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, a black carnival krewe in New Orleans whose members parade on Mardi Gras in blackface.

He takes on issues that are as relevant today as they were when he wrote about them. Excessive sentencing is examined in a 1970 piece about a black militant in Houston serving thirty years in prison for giving away one marijuana cigarette. The role of race in the use of deadly force by police is highlighted in a 1975 article about an African American shot by a white policeman in Seattle.

Uniting all these pieces are Trillin’s unflinching eye and graceful prose. Jackson, 1964 is an indispensable account of a half-century of race and racism in America, through the lens of a master journalist and writer who was there to bear witness.

Praise for Jackson, 1964

“Trillin’s elegant storytelling and keen observations sometimes churned my wrath about the glacial pace of progress. That’s because to me and millions of African-Americans, the topics of race and poverty—and their adverse impact on the mind and spirit—are, as Trillin acknowledges, not theoretical; they’re personal.”—Dorothy Butler Gilliam, The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)

“These pieces . . . will continue to be read for the pleasure they deliver as well as for the pain they describe.”—The New York Times

“With the diligent clarity, humane wit, polished prose and attention to pertinent detail that exemplify Trillin’s journalism at its best . . . Jackson, 1964 drives home a sobering realization: Even with signs of progress, racism in America is news that stays news.”—USA Today

“These unsettling tales, elegantly written and wonderfully reported, are like black-and-white snapshots from the national photo album. They depict a society in flux but also stubbornly unmoved through the decades when it comes to many aspects of race relations. . . . The grace Trillin brings to his job makes his stories all the more poignant.”—The Christian Science Monitor

“An exceptional collection [from] master essayist Trillin.”—Booklist (starred review)
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