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Of All Things

Robert C. Benchley

Book Overview: 

A collection of amusing essays satirizing serious consideration of topics including natural history, social etiquette, or indeed, civilized behavior (especially of the upper classes).

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .DEAR PATER:—To-day has been unbelievably exquisite! Great, undulating clouds, rolling in serried formation across a sky of pure lapis lazuli. I feel like what Updike calls a "myrmidon of unhesitating amplitude." And a perfect gem of a letter from Toto completed the felicitous experience. You would hardly believe, and yet you must, in your cœur des cœurs, know, that the brown, esoteric hills of this Oriental retreat affect me like the red wine of Russilon, and, indigent as I am in these matters, I cannot but feel that you have, as Herbert says:

"Carve or discourse; do not a famine fear.
Who carves is kind to two, who talks to all."

Yesterday I saw a little native boy, a veritable boy of the streets, playing at a game at once so naïve and so resplendent that I was irresistibly drawn to its contemplation. You will doubtless jeer when I tell you. He was tossing a small blatch, such as grow in great profusion here, to and fr. . . Read More

Community Reviews

It was worth reading this book just to be reminded of how far we have come in the past 90 years. And the author's dry sense of humor was delightful. My favorite chapter was "The Scientific Scenario". He has nice skills with satire.

I get the impression that some people don't understand that this book is written as satire.

If you want a very good example of dry American humor from the early 20th century (1920s..1940s), read this book. If you are familiar with Robert Benchly's work in short films, you'll hear his voice coming...more

In the same light-as-souffle genre of P.G. Wodehouse and some writings of E.B. White, this book is very light-hearted. The major problem is that the topics are very aged -- most of the household appliances he mentioned would be a mystery to modern reading -- and some of his opinions may now be co...more

Time is not kind...

Most of the material in this book has none of its humorous edge, too much is period refers to things long past to the point of forgotten. Unless you are reading it purely from historical curiosity its probably not worth the effort.

Too lightweight for 5 stars, but some very amusing stuff in this collection. It makes a good bedside book for dipping into.

Funny and light!

Mr. Benchley is an easy read that tickles the over tickled mind even by today's so-called smart and sophisticated set of writers that uses way too many bad words to get their point across!

Benchley's first collection has its moments, starting with the dedication to the inventor of "the Bessemer steel converter" and continuing through the preface, which merely reproduces the Declaration of Independence, but most of what follows is lesser Benchley, light but rarely outright funny. He...more

Bob Benchley is very much the Dave Barry of the 1920's. Very funny, but pretty silly too. I laughed out loud a lot, but I didn't finish all the articles. Some of them were about topics I couldn't relate to--like coal burning furnaces. I still got the gist, but it wasn't as funny. About halfway th...more

Very funny and wonderful reads. Silly but poignant!

Not only was Benchley a humorist of note, he was a humorist of the entire scale and then some.

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