A series of quick, impressionistic affirmations for Christians in a beautifully crafted booklet.


A series of meditations examines the Christian life.

Neary opens this slim nonfiction debut with a vivid account of the night at Bible study camp in her 16th year when she decided to challenge Jesus directly, praying that if he would reveal himself to her, she would serve him. At once, the room filled with light and breeze, and she felt herself in the presence of her Lord. This kind of encounter is in accord with what Neary’s collaborator Day writes in his preface about the Christian God. “He wants to be found,” Day claims. “He wants to be known. He has been waiting for you to arrive at this moment in history to make Himself known to you.” Since someone who wants to be known would actually make himself known—not through private, ambiguously felt presences but by direct, observable, and unambiguous encounters—this and other sentiments expressed throughout the book indicate its target readership is the authors’ fellow devout Christians. And for those Christians, Neary and Day have enlisted the aid of artist Lee to make their book a lovely, illuminated work. There are briskly narrated meditations on seemingly trivial items (the desert, for instance, or the alabaster jar containing the scented oils Mary Magdalene used to anoint Jesus, which becomes the focal point for an intriguing elaboration). And each of the volume’s sections is suffused with the kind of peaceful optimism (“We are meant to have joy all the time and have it be our strength,” for example) that the authors clearly intend to impart. There are occasional minor inconsistencies. On the same page, for instance, readers are told conflicting tidbits about angels: that they understand nothing about humans except what they learn from God and that they know mortals’ stories because they have studied them. But the majority of this handsome pamphlet acts as pure reassurance for the faithful.

A series of quick, impressionistic affirmations for Christians in a beautifully crafted booklet.

Pub Date: March 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-7065-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2017

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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