Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Henry Alford's six favorite books

Henry Alford has written for the New York Times and Vanity Fair for over a decade. He has also written for the New Yorker. It is entirely possible that you have heard him on National Public Radio.

He is the author of a humor collection, Municipal Bondage, and of an account of his attempts to become a working actor, Big Kiss, which won a Thurber Prize. His book How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They are Still on This Earth), which was named a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly.

Alford's new book about manners, Would It Kill You To Stop Doing That?, was published earlier this month.

One of the author's six favorite books, as told to The Week magazine:
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

You don't need to know this parody novel's antecedents — D.H. Lawrence and Thomas Hardy's rural melodramas­ — to weep with laughter at it: Backwoods yokelism is universal. Read it and "I saw something nasty in the woodshed" may become your new "grunions at their best," if not your new "Danskin crotch panel."
Read about the other books on Alford's list.

Cold Comfort Farm is among Belinda McKeon top ten farming novels, John Mullan's ten best parodies in literature, and Lisa Armstrong's top books on shoes.

--Marshal Zeringue