SEVEN CATS AND THE ART OF LIVING

As she profiles the cats in her life, Coudert (Go Well: The Story of a House, 1974, etc.) gleans a raft of life lessons. No idle cat fancier, Coudert had amassed seven of them. She couldn't help but think that such neat and graceful animals, creatures without gods to truckle before, living in their own universes, were onto something. ``Something of worth about the art of living was to be learned from cats,'' she reckoned, something about ``living fully, handling restraints equably, thriving on relationships.'' Something, doubtless, about always landing on one's feet. So, at her home along the banks of the Raritan River in the hills of western New Jersey, Coudert took a long, hard look at each of her cats. There is Bitty, ``undeceivably alive by being in the world instead of walking through it,'' who taught her a thing or two about the benefits of unconditional love. The tormented and withdrawn Poppy allows Coudert to digress upon one of her favorite topics—the difficulties of one person changing another's self- defeating behavior. Socksie, with as tough a start in life as Poppy, chooses not to give up on the future and remains open to the friendship of a persistent person. And Sweet William, of gentle disposition and thunderously beautiful, has a self-awareness that brings Coudert's mind to the benefits of meditation, where the internal loops of rationalizations and justifications are broken, the defenseless self exposed for a moment. There is nothing particularly new here, or with the other three cats, but to put such musings in a feline context gives them a benign freshness. If at times Coudert's ministerings have a quaintly vapid air about them, at the very least they feel genuine: little homilies, tendered with best wishes. (24 b&w drawings by the author)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 1996

ISBN: 0-446-51961-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1996

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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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IN MY PLACE

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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