Magazine article Editor & Publisher

OFF CENTER : Live from New York, It's ... Them?

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

OFF CENTER : Live from New York, It's ... Them?

Article excerpt

Laughter doesn't normally erupt when you think about two of the nation's stodgiest papers. But two new books by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times may change that.

Floating Off the Page: The Best Stories from The Wall Street Journal's 'Middle Column' (Wall Street Journal Books/Simon & Schuster), available May 1, features 67 of the memorably witty stories that have run in the paper's popular "middle column" or "A-hed" in the past 50 years.

Edited by Ken Wells, the paper's Page One editor, the collection -- E&P received an advance copy -- includes stories on toad-smoking, throwing a grand piano 125 yards, Charles Atlas as a grandfather, the latest developments in sheep orthodontia, and other offbeat subjects.

Among Wells' favorites is a piece by Carrie Dolan that ran in 1983. Her editor believed that spending $130 for a night in a fancy hotel was absurd, so he sent her from San Francisco across the United States with that same $130 in her pocket. She ended up in Charleston, S.C., six days later, after spending $98 on lodging. …

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