The book inevitably creates a desire to hear Mitchell’s music and perhaps try to track down some of her artwork, which at...

JONI

THE ANTHOLOGY

A patchwork collection of writing spanning Joni Mitchell’s legendary career.

Veteran British music journalist Hoskyns (Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits, 2009, etc.), co-founder and editorial director of the online library Rock’s Backpages, compiles a wide range of journalism about the Canadian-born singer/songwriter, visual artist, and cultural icon. As the editor writes in the introduction, she is “peerless and untouchable as a singer-songwriter of intricate lyrics and swoopingly beautiful melodies.” Hoskyns works with a light touch, serving more as a curator than editor (though he includes a couple of his own pieces) in this chronological path through Mitchell’s long, respected, but sometimes-bumpy life and career. The pieces run a wide range: reviews of albums and performances, essays and profiles, interviews and features, and even some ad copy. Due to Hoskyns’ British roots, the selections show a nice trans-Atlantic bent. However, they are drawn from a somewhat narrow range of publications and feature a roughly 4-to-1 male-to-female ratio of contributors, almost all of whom are white. As with any such anthology, the quality varies. There are some quite excellent contributions and some really lousy ones, but in the aggregate, they provide a strong sense of the artistic, intellectual, and personal development of someone who has always chafed at being branded a folk singer and who grew frustrated with the recording industry and critical reception of much of her work after her late-1960s-to-mid-’70s heyday. Those who choose to read from beginning to end will find a lot of repetition; this is the sort of collection that lends itself to dipping in and out of.

The book inevitably creates a desire to hear Mitchell’s music and perhaps try to track down some of her artwork, which at the end of the day are the reason the book exists in the first place.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-14862-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Picador

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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