Charming musings on the “moments of bliss” found in the garden.



An agreeable set of essays in which gardening teaches perspective and the rewards of hard work.

When Israeli novelist Shalev (Two She-Bears, 2016, etc.) first saw his home in the Jezreel Valley, its garden was dried up and derelict. Although his grandfather kept an orchard and his mother took pride in her Jerusalem garden, he had little personal experience with horticulture. In this pleasant “collection of impressions of a modest wild garden and the gardener who tends it,” he charts the development of a hobby that soon became his “new love.” With the help of an elderly village guru, he learned what to plant and what to cut down, creating such an idyll that a wedding party once mistook his garden for a countryside photo shoot location. The book rests on solid botanical knowledge but is never heavy-handed. Rather, Shalev sometimes indulges in whimsy, as when he asks his sea squill plants if they want to be sown together or separately. Though the author notes an overall decline in local wildlife, he still enjoys owl calls and nocturnal visits from fruit bats. In a standout chapter, Shalev good-naturedly chronicles a losing battle against mole rats. The author weaves in Jewish wisdom via stories of the Tree of Life and God’s providing water as well as King Solomon’s words in praise of ants. Shalev contends that keeping a garden helps with cultivating a proper sense of time—not just planning ahead with annuals, but also planting a tree that will remain hundreds of years after its planter is gone. “This patience is not something I brought to the garden,” he writes, “but rather something I received from it.” He persuasively likens gardening to writing in that both necessitate time, dedication, and back pain but ultimately produce beauty. At the end of the book, when he describes how he cut down his old, dying lemon tree to replace it with another, it reminds him of his mortality: “I, too, am a rather old lemon tree.”

Charming musings on the “moments of bliss” found in the garden.

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8052-4351-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Schocken

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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



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

Did you like this book?


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

Did you like this book?