Grandma was responsible for broadening my reading material beyond the standard fare for 7-year old boys. I’ve already told the tales of my reading her dictionary and encyclopedia in previous blogs. Once the fire of reading was stoked within me, I had no shortage of fuel to keep the furnace hot. James Thurber provided long-lasting, renewable energy.
Thurber was a multi-talented creator. His wit and perception could be found in both his writing and his drawings. Accustomed as I was to comic books and their blend of pictures and words, it was a little stretch to involve myself with the wordier text and accompanying cartoons of Mr. Thurber, though I look at it now as my first retirement investment, such was the enduring value I gained.
Three years after joining the New Yorker in 1927, Thurber began contributing cartoons the famous magazine and over the next 20 years would sustain a relationship of creativity borne out through both his art and his stories.
Thurber’s humor was almost always based on the oddity that is everyday life. A good portion of his writing took form as an imaginary “history” of his life. The collection of short stories, taken as a whole, wove a fanciful picture of the world and how people react to it. He had his share of darker tales and he simply made his humor darken to match the theme.
The easy way his characters interact and his ever-present humor make Thurber a joyous read. You can find his collections almost everywhere, although you will have to visit the Jeremy Shuttle Adventures Facebook page to find out which title Grandma had on her shelf (a later copy now graces my home).