Constant Reader: The New Yorker Columns 1927–28 (Paperback)

Constant Reader: The New Yorker Columns 1927–28 By Dorothy Parker, Sloane Crosley (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Dorothy Parker, Sloane Crosley (Foreword by)
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“Does anyone know how hard it is to be that funny? . . . Read her book reviews. Read them now and see how good they are.” —Fran Lebowitz

When Dorothy Parker became a book critic for the New Yorker, in 1927, she was already a legendary wit, a much-quoted member of the Algonquin Round Table, and an arbiter of literary taste. In the year that she spent as a weekly reviewer, under the rubric “Constant Reader,” she created what is still the most entertaining book column ever written. Parker’s hot takes have lost none of their heat, whether she’s taking aim at the evangelist Aimee Semple MacPherson (“She can go on like that for hours. Can, hell—does”), praising Hemingway’s latest collection (“He discards detail with magnificent lavishness”), or dissenting from the Tao of Pooh (“And it is that word ‘hummy,’ my darlings, that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader Fwowed up”).

Here, for the first time in one volume, is the complete set of weekly reviews that Parker published from October 1927 through November 1928, in all their variety, with gimlet-eyed appreciations of the high and low, from Isadora Duncan to Al Smith, Charles Lindbergh to Little Orphan Annie, Mussolini to Emily Post.

About the Author

Dorothy Parker née Rothschild (1898–1967), grew up on New York’s Upper West Side. She became famous for her comic poems, her short stories, her reviews, and her repartée, as recorded by the columnist Wolcott Gibbs over lunches at the Algonquin hotel. A prolific magazine contributor in her youth and a successful screenwriter (she co-wrote the original A Star is Born), she struggled all her life with alcoholism and wrote very little in her later decades, though continued to be a vocal champion of progressive causes, especially civil rights.

Sloane Crosley is the author of the essay collections I Was Told There’d Be Cake (a 2009 finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor), How Did You Get This Number, and Look Alive Out There (a 2019 Thurber Prize finalist); the novels The Clasp and Cult Classic; and, most recently, her memoir, Grief Is for People. A contributing editor at Vanity Fair, she lives in New York City.

Praise For…

“All I wanted in this world was to come to New York and be Dorothy Parker. The funny lady. The only lady at the table. The woman who made her living by her wit . . . Who always got off the perfect line at the perfect moment, who never went home and lay awake wondering what she ought to have said because she had said exactly what she ought to have.”
— Nora Ephron

“It is through Parker’s refusal to claim authority, then, that her book reviews achieve it. She presents readers with an unpretentious, sometimes self-mocking voice that, while it expresses strong opinions, pretends no Olympian knowledge or status. Her use of humor is even-handed: she uses it to make fun of shallow, silly, or just plain bad published work, but she also turns it on herself . . . And, as a bonus, the reviews contain some of her own best, most spirited writing, which is the reason, finally, that we continue to read them with such pleasure.”
— Nancy A. Walker

“Length doesn’t increase depth, necessarily, and just because her little characterizations of a book were short doesn’t mean they weren’t true.”

— Gloria Steinem
Product Details
ISBN: 9781961341258
ISBN-10: 1961341255
Publisher: McNally Editions
Publication Date: November 5th, 2024
Pages: 224
Language: English