Customer Reviews: Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of Funny Stuff
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on October 13, 2011
On a whim I picked up Calvin Trillin's book. I needed something funny, something light...something to enjoy in a totally different way than I am accustomed to. Turned out to be a wonderful choice, a whim well worth it.
Love this book. I enjoy Trillin's humor.
Being an avid fiction reader, I find myself mired in the most current titles which, most often, contain serious subject matter. Not complaining because I love stories and I am ever grateful to all of the wonderful authors who have provided me with a stream of never ending entertainment through out the years.
It is refreshing to take a break and realize that the written word can be employed in so many wonderful ways. Trillin's essay's and poems are priceless. His laugh out loud observations are fun.
Thank you Calvin Tillin for putting pen to paper and, even though I was reminded of my mom's unending supply of chicken a'la king, for helping to make this individual's life a little lighter.
Great collection .... highly recommended !
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on October 28, 2011
To say that Calvin Trillin is among America's best humorists of a generation is not a matter of debate, I would think. He's witty to a fault and the fault is not his. Low-key (to a fault) is his way and it's an endearing quality that has led to many a fine article of prose or a contribution of poetry over the years.

The title,"Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin", sets the bar just low enough that the expectations of the reader cannot be outdone. Here he has collected writings of over forty years. If you're a fan of his, which I am, this could be like being given Halloween candy days early. That said, I do have some preferences in his new book....his poetry. This is where he shines...succinct, very funny and always highly innovative. His chapter, "Twenty Years of Pols" is exceptional and just when you thought those old candidates like Steve Forbes, David Vitter or Alfonse D'Amato had entered the "who's who" of forgotten American politicians, Trillin reminds us that they once were in our midst, groping for the presidency, or groping for something else.

Taking in so much of Trillin at one reading (or two, if it's a sunny day) is not the best way to read him. The accumulative presentations aren't so good all jammed into one book. We get an idea that Kansas City, Alice, Yale and being a Jew are the four main sources of his humor. This could be, but they work better individually than a as mini-mini-tome.

I highly recommend, "Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin" but urge the reader to read it over a period of days or even weeks, and like a good bottle of red wine, let it breathe. You will find it much more satisfying that way.
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on October 19, 2011
If you are an old Trillin fan (as I am) you'll enjoy this.

If you are not, especially if you are not old enough to remember Tom Delay, Rodney King and George H.W. Bush you will do better with other books he's written. The material goes back 40 years (mostly in the later half of that period but still not recent).

I would rate the following Trillin books 5 stars:
- American Stories
- All About Alice
- Messages from my Father: A Memoir
- Tummy Trilogy (if you want to read Trillin's writing about food

Why doesn't Amazon let me indent this list?
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VINE VOICEon November 1, 2011
Calvin Trillin is a wonderfully funny storyteller, whether or not his stories are true or fictional. He's a quintessential New Yorker, but his appeal is universal, if more than a little ethnic. I'd read previously many of the essays included in this new compilation, but re-reading them was just as funny the second time around. The essays, some of which are more than thirty years old, remain funny today; many that were written in the Reagan era could have been written last week. The included essays are short enough and filled with enough gems of humor that they simply cry out to be read aloud, and in this instance my husband was the happy recipient.

I was happy that this particular excerpt from his novel Tepper Isn't Going Out: A Novel was included, and here's why: It's a perfect little snapshot of his humor, and either you'll love it or you won't. To set it up a bit, a counterman at the famous Russ and Daughters deli is complaining to Tepper how annoyed he gets when certain customers ask for "nice" whitefish when of course all of the whitefish he serves up is "nice." The following is what he wishes he could tell those customers.

"I'm glad you said that, because I wasn't going to get you a nice whitefish. If you hadn't said that, I would have looked for a whitefish that's been sitting there since Tisha B'Av--an old, greasy, farshtunken whitefish...That's why the boss gets up at four in the morning to go to the suppliers, so he can get the farshtunken whitefish before his competitors. Otherwise, if he slept until a civilized hour, as maybe he deserves by now, he might get stuck with nice whitefish."

If you loved that fragment, you'll want to read the remainder of Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin, and perhaps Tepper Isn't Going Out as well. It's quite funny and quirky, about a New Yorker who spends much of his time sitting in his car quietly reading the paper while holding onto precious parking spots. Tepper is a fairly quick read while this new compilation is best read a little at a time, the better to savor his style of humor.
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on November 3, 2011
I ordered Calvin Trillin's book because I saw him on "the Daily Show with Jon Stewart", and I am indebted to Jon for introducing me to someone I wish I had discovered long ago.
I think he is the funniest man alive. I laughed so hard and sometimes for so long that I would have to put the book down because my stomach muscles were giving out.
Granted, he may not be everyone's cup of tea. Depends largely on what kind of humor appeals to you, but for me he combines the perfect blend of political satire, and observations on the absurdities of everyday life that really tickles my funny bone.
(What bone is that exactly?)
If you are the kind that takes offense easily, and dislikes having your political party or your ideology poked fun at, you probably should give it a skip. He spares almost no one on the public scene, although he is much kinder to Democrats than to Republicans.
But it's not all political. And some of his columns are funnier than others. But how can you not love a man who gives advice on child rearing by saying, "Try to get one that doesn't spit up. Otherwise, you're on your own."
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VINE VOICEon March 5, 2012
I've been reading Calvin Trillin's funny books for a long time, and his ode to his wife Alice, About Alice, is one of the loveliest books about a marriage that you'll ever read. (Many people give this book as a bridal shower gift, and it's great idea.)

So I looked forward to a compilation of his New Yorker columns, his The Nation humorous political poetry and so much more into one book. Some of his best stuff is here, and I chuckled at such comments as:
"Math was my worst subject. I was never able to convince the mathematics teacher that many of my answers were meant ironically."
I always tell my sons to beware of people who scream the loudest about other's moral weaknesses, that they have something to hide, and a Trillin political poem from 2007 that speaks to that reads:
"Once more, for right-wing folks it really rankles
To see who's caught with pants around his ankles.
Who's next? Who knows?
Some would take the view
That sanctimony is often quite a clue."
Trillin, who grew up in the midwest and still has that sensibility, now lives in New York City, and his comic observations about city life are dead on, including this one:
"I live in Greenwich Village, where people from the suburbs come on weekends to test their car alarms."
His funniest stuff includes his attempts to reason logically with his young daughters and his ongoing arguments with a magazine publisher whom Trillin feels doesn't pay him enough for his work. Alice is here as well, and her presence is definitely a welcome addition.

This is a book best read in short chunks, and I read it daily while on the treadmill, which was perfect. Some of the earlier political stuff may feel a bit stale, and younger people may not have a clue as to who some of these people are, but they will know George W. Bush, a frequent comic target for Trillin.

Calvin Trillin is one of smartest, funniest writers around, and this is a terrific compilation for his many, many fans.
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on March 26, 2014
Oh, yes, five stars, certainly. I've always enjoyed Mr. Trillin's writing. It was great to have a collection of his work at hand. Nice that there's no plot, so easy to take in bits, without losing track. But a warning -- reading it in public poses a problem, that is, laughing out loud even in a coffee bar can be embarrassing. Or on the train. Ignore the warning, though -- get the book. Read it. Those around you are on their own. Their loss, actually.
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on August 13, 2012
When I moved to a city apartment with no space I had to unload 95% of my books, a painful process. Still, I kept all of my Calvin Trillin books. I have enjoyed his dry humor and wonderful analyses, and some of his deadline poetry, for well over 30 years now. On reading this collection from throughout his career it is obvious that he (at least on the chosen pieces) does not lose anything with age. Actually, this ISN'T quite enough of Trillin, because his food pieces are missing, and his longer "on-the-road" essays are missing, although both are easily available in other anthologies. After this, I would read The Tummy Trilogy. One highly impressive thing about Trillin is that although he presents himself as the less than fully aware husband and father, and his humor often plays off his wife and daughters, it would be hard to find any place where they come off second best. Not many men were writing like that 30 or 40 years ago, while being witty, smart and interesting all at the same time.
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on September 21, 2011
Thoroughly delightful. Calvin's collection is LOL entertaining and certain to lift your spirits. Now I know what happened to my mother's favorite, chicken a la king. Maybe the chicken croquettes are there as well.
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on November 4, 2011
A fun book to read but best read over a period of time as there is a sameness to author's writing style which could dull the impact. Some pieces are very witty and are really timeless in their critique of the world we've created for ourselves.
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