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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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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