- Series: Wall Street Journal Book
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 50533rd edition (June 2, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 074322664X
- ISBN-13: 978-0743226646
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,318,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Floating Off the Page: The Best Stories from The Wall Street Journal's "Middle Column" (Wall Street Journal Book) 50533rd Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Wells, a senior editor at the Wall Street Journal, has put together a terrific collection of the most memorable stories from the off-beat front-page column that covers singular topics like toad-licking and the Miss Agriculture pageant, and leads with irresistible opening lines like "First, pretend that you are a sheep." Wells, who is also a novelist (Meely LaBauve), includes stories of unconventional inventions such as braces for sheep teeth, a low-flatulence bean and underwear for the incarcerated. There are profiles of the unglamorous and overlooked, such as a professional fish-sniffer and the world's most prolific, and unknown, novelist. Readers receive an education in Greek banana policy, the national sewer-fat crisis and what it's like to be a Serbian sniper. Stories also involve reporters trying on new careers, from belly-dancing to auto-show modeling. Although there is a heavy emphasis on humor here, readers can still expect to find a smattering of serious subjects, like rescuing otters after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 or the fate of the mail destined for the World Trade Center after 9/11. For regular WSJ readers, who have loved the middle column, this collection, with pieces largely from the 1970s forward (the column dates back 50 years), is a must. Those who think WSJ stories are only for the business-minded are in for an unexpected treat.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-The column from which this collection derives debuted in December, 1941, and from its 6-decade history Wells has selected 67 engaging examples of journalistic creativity and caprice. Each entry of approximately 1500 words is signed and dated, and tackles an offbeat topic of the staff writer's choice, designed to leaven the daily news offerings and to entertain by wresting readers' eyes from serious matters. For example, one may read about cutting-edge technology in sheep orthodontics, record-breaking distances in piano flinging by trebuchet, and fantasy styling excesses at hair fashion shows. This is a book to be valued equally for the composition lessons inherent in its polished prose and for its appeal to readers.
Lynn Nutwell, Fairfax City Regional Library, VA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
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wonderful stories is very welcome. I immediately think of the loopy Brit who has constructed a medieval "siege engine" for lobbing dead horses (it was medieval thing) or soon-to-be-dead pianos a hundred yards down range. Many of us can relate to the social perils of inadvertently making a cell phone call by hitting a re-dial button and having our conversations unknowingly monitored. And I fret for the fellow who protects the Stanley Cup as it makes its appointed party rounds among ice hockey's winning athletes. A very different tone is struck in the "struggles of [sea] otter 76" to survive the toxic effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. It is a moving story that sticks to the reader's mind like petroleum goo. A vignette about Serbian snipers is both disturbing and memorable in its grimy banality. I do miss in this collection the oddity of a giant blue anatomically proportioned bug crouching on the roof of a Providence, RI exterminator. I also miss the WSJ's distinctive pixel illustrations of the people and things that are the subject of these columns. Their absence is an unfortunate editorial lapse since so many of the stories are memorable human interest sketches of ordinary people in unusual roles. But readers should not be too disappointed. This is a worthy, reasonably priced gift book and recommended vacation read!
Sometimes hysterical, other times sweet, and always fashioned prose, this collection captures some of the small bits of gold that sprinkle this paper everyday.
This is a good book for a plane, bathroom, traffic jam, or for a laugh before bed. Each story is short and sweet as of course is the writing itself. A gem to be picked, twirled around, and enjoyed, each stroy is a unique facet.
When finished, pick up the Journal, at least for the whymsical middle section.
"Floating off the Page: The Best Stories from The Wall Street Journal's "Middle Column"" covers all those stories you missed. On one hand, it is just a collection of articles from a well-read newspaper column. On the other, it is a peek into the unusual world we live in. As bizarre as some of these stories are, as much as you'll look and tell the other person with you, "listen to this, there's this guy in New York who...", these are real life.
It isn't all humor, but you'll find many a chuckle in the book. You'll wonder where and how they found these people, but you'll be drawn into every page. The middle column isn't one of those selection of odd newswire stories, but a fully-researched look into one story, and all its oddities. They are written with as much erudite literary prowess as the rest of the WSJ, but without the MBA-level knowledge required.
Coffeehouses should stock this one, as well as waiting rooms at dentists' office everywhere.
I fully recommend "Floating off the Page: The Best Stories from The Wall Street Journal's "Middle Column""
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