A classic. Readers who travel to the Costa Brava will truly feel what Pla has written.

THE GRAY NOTEBOOK

Pla (1897–1981) is considered one of the greatest writers of Catalan language, and this beautiful translation lets English readers glory in the quiet strength of his words.

At age 21, the author decided to change his style of writing—a little less flowery but not quite journalistic—and he began this diary, which begs to be read slowly, calmly and multiple times. At the beginning, he strikes a humble, self-deprecating chord regarding his writing. “If these jottings do escape the flame,” he writes, “perhaps one day a distant relative or curious individual with time on his hands will deign to glance their way.” The first half takes place in the countryside, just north of Barcelona, in 1918. Pla’s law classes in Barcelona have been suspended due to the outbreak of influenza. In the comfort of his family home in Palafrugell or wandering about their farm, he watches, feels, smells and hears all that is beautiful in his Catalonia. The author’s writing is not just about description—that’s too simple a word. He masterfully conveys the actual mushroom-y smell of the earth, the odors, the colors in the egg-yolk sky and the taste of spring in Muscat grapes. His lyrical stories capture the soul of his people: of Gervasi, who blew a conch shell every day to mark dawn, noon and dusk; and of Roldós, the pianist who played Bach at the silent movies. In the second half of the book, the narrative moves to Barcelona as classes resume. Pla chronicles his discovery of the circles of men who talked late into the night, the old defending what is, the young, what ought to be. The author examines boardinghouse life, describes how different shoes squeak and worries if understanding Nietzsche is a step forward or backward.

A classic. Readers who travel to the Costa Brava will truly feel what Pla has written.

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59017-671-9

Page Count: 704

Publisher: New York Review Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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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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