Wry Harvest

Wry Harvest

An Anthology of Midwest Humor
Chris Lamb
Distribution: World
Publication date: 09/21/2006
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21872-8
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If you live in the Midwest, you have to know how to laugh. Tornados, floods, drought, and miles and miles of flat land: if you don’t have a sense of humor, you might want to consider living somewhere else. Humor is as natural to the Midwest as cow pats and corn mazes, seed caps and road kill, Johnny Carson and David Letterman.

This book gathers some of the best stories from the humorists of the big belly of America, past and present. Here are Mark Twain, George Ade, Finley Peter Dunne, Don Marquis, and Ring Lardner; James Thurber, Ruth McKenney, Erma Bombeck, Calvin Trillin, and Garrison Keillor—Midwesterners, one and all. There’s even a piece from William Dean Howells, not usually known for his knock-me-down humor. You’ll also find tales from Ambrose Bierce, Kin Hubbard, Sinclair Lewis, Mike Royko, Donald Kaul, P. J. O’Rourke, and Bill Bryson.

Here is a book to curl up with when the cows don’t come home, the crick’s flooded, and the fox has bedded down in the henhouse. It’ll put a smile on your face and make you glad you don’t live in New York City, even if you do.

Author Bio

Chris Lamb is Associate Professor of Communication at the College of Charleston. He is author of Blackout: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Spring Training and Drawn to Extremes: The Limits of Editorial Cartoons in the United States (forthcoming). He lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Table of Contents


Mark Twain (1835<N>1910)
How to Tell a Story
The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
The Story of the Good Little Boy
The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm

William Dean Howells (1837<N>1920)
Christmas Every Day

Ambrose Bierce (1842<N>1914 ?)
Curried Cow
An Imperfect Conflagration

George Ade (1866<N>1944)
The Wonderful Meal of Vittles
The Patient Toiler Who Got It in the Usual Place
The Fable of How the Fool-Killer Backed Out of a Contract
The Fable of the Copper and the Jovial Undergrads
Everybody's Friend and the Line Bucker

Finley Peter Dunne (1867<N>1936)
On War Preparations
On His Cousin George
On Reform Candidates

Frank McKinley "Kin" Hubbard (1868<N>1930)
The People
The Amy Purviance Murder Case

Don Marquis (1878<N>1937)
Introducing the Old Soak
Look Out for Crime Waves!
The Barroom and the Arts

Ring Lardner (1885<N>1933)
Alibi Ike

Sinclair Lewis (1885<N>1951)
George F. Babbitt Begins His Day

James Thurber (1894<N>1961)
The Night the Bed Fell
University Days

Ruth McKenney (1911<N>1972)
A Loud Sneer for Our Feathered Friends

Erma Bombeck (1927<N>1996)
Don't Worry... I'll Manage
The Garage Sale
The Ides of May
"Mom and Dad! I'm Home"

Mike Royko (1932<N>1997)
A Pitch for Opening Day
View from Hoosierdome
Indiana's Not Alone

Donald Kaul (1925<N> )
House Calls and Other Folk Medicine
Eat Your Heart Out, Luther Burbank

Calvin Trillin (1935<N> )
Alice, Let's Eat
Missouri Uncompromised
Pinko Problems

Garrison Keillor (1942<N> )

P. J. (Patrick Jake) O'Rourke (1947<N> )
Intellectual Wilderness, Ho—A Visit to Harvard's 350th Anniversary Celebration

Bill Bryson (1951<N> )