“Some books are better than others,” she declares. This is one of the former.

DISTANCE AND DIRECTION

ESSAYS

Thirty-two essays on the subjects of time and place—some somewhat discursive, others lyrical, all as brief as a sigh.

Kitchen (In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal, with Mary Paumier Jones, 1999) is interested in the past, particularly in how the present conveys us there. These lovely pieces flow like reveries (as, indeed, quite a few of them are) and reveal in virtually every case Kitchen’s capacious heart. Like thoughts, the essays do not always end where they began and often establish surprising connections and uncover buried treasure. She’s fond of brief images—e.g., “The food is vintage 1955. Campbell’s soup. Hot cheese. My grandmother’s sturdy black shoes. Her apron.” Readers must connect the dots and, having done so, find themselves in possession of a photograph of an era. She loves, as well, the paradox: she describes herons that have a purpose in their purposelessness; things unsaid are nonetheless articulated. As she states in her preface, some of the pieces are experiments. She plays with viewpoint—uses the first person to achieve immediacy, the second to draw us in, the third to step back, most effectively in the segment that deals with the death of her father. “She never saw his body,” writes Kitchen of herself and her father. Scattered throughout, as well, are six brief segments with colors for titles. She begins with blue, moves to black (appropriately, in the section immediately after her father’s death), ends with red. Some of these are wonderful—poems hide in paragraphs; others seem forced. A number of landscapes appear throughout: the Pacific Northwest (featuring a dead-on description of the eastbound Columbia River Highway as it leaves the river’s demesne), Brazil (which she visited in 1971), Ireland. She reveals failings (she cannot paint, and when she dances, “The body gets in the way”) and describes painful moments (working with survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing).

“Some books are better than others,” she declares. This is one of the former.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56689-121-3

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Coffee House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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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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