Compelling photos whose color, composition, and subjects invite lingering attention.

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Touching the Hem of Heaven

A MEMOIR OF REDEMPTION IN NEPAL

Text and photographs document the author’s 2010 trip to Nepal, undertaken in hopes of escape and discovery.

For Desind (Lost in Language, 2015, etc.), 2010 was difficult. Donald, his partner of 17 years, died suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition. The relationship had been crumbling after years of diminished intimacy, and Desind was looking for a new attachment, but Donald’s death was a shock. Desind’s parents both faced serious health problems, too. Nepal represented at first an escape into the exotic as well as a chance for Desind to experiment with his new camera equipment and get over his shyness in asking people’s permission to take their photos. Some of Desind’s concerns in Nepal, like whether the new man in his life texted him back, loom very small in the post-earthquake context of this book; that said, his extraordinary photographs command attention. Each photograph is one to spend time with. They benefit from Desind’s decision to “tell a story of color and stolen moments surrounded by chaos” in a place where a town might look like “a wedding cake placed none too gently on a pile of trash.” This choice allows Desind to show off his talented eye for composition, color, and the telling juxtaposition. In one photo, a boy with thick, unruly curls and huge dark eyes stares calmly to the side; his T-shirt reads, “NATURE.” In another, a tiny store selling Pepsi is visible in the background behind the corner of a worn building traversed by colorful prayer flags. In the foreground runs the blurry shadow of a baboon. One breathtaking photo depicts an elaborately carved wooden doorway in a stone building. A sadhu’s dark-skinned legs furred with white hair rest on the stone sill, his body invisible in the interior darkness; all is brown, black, and gray but for a glimpse of worn textile with pops of ochre and plum. The effect is both dignified and homely. Moral issues are inherent to photography, and Desind deals with the issues thoughtfully, for example, showing children hard at work but also their bright-eyed exuberance.

Compelling photos whose color, composition, and subjects invite lingering attention.

Pub Date: July 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-47898-1

Page Count: 230

Publisher: Pride Enterprises

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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