A lack of focus, an often-cold tone and the less-than-exciting parallel narratives make this slight road memoir a sleepy...

THE MAN WHO WOULD STOP AT NOTHING

LONG-DISTANCE MOTORCYCLING'S ENDLESS ROAD

In an odd, misguided combination of marriage memoir and stunt journalism, motorcycle enthusiast Pierson (The Place You Love Is Gone: Progress Hits Home, 2006, etc.) follows two narrative threads—the road to and from her divorce and story of an obsessive long-distance-riding group called the Iron Butt Association—on a journey to...nowhere.

While it’s a sad tale, the reporting of the author’s crumbling relationship is well-worn territory. As for the Iron Butts, the center of that thread is John Ryan, the most obsessive of the obsessive, a man who would choose his motorcycle over anything. Though Ryan is a colorful character, as a subject he’s worthy of a magazine article rather than an entire book—much of his story feels like filler. As the story jumps back and forth between anecdotes that don't quite connect, the author struggles to give the narrative context, but the book ultimately feels as if it has no anchor. Eventually, the author resorts to explaining the purported purpose of the book: “I realize, with a start, what this book is about: Death. Not motorcycling, but death. Or, rather, motorcycles as life force and death force at once: the game played so we can safely approach the end, in which one side is squashed by the other." Unfortunately, Pierson fails to meet her lofty goal; the book doesn’t adequately mine such Big Themes. While journalists such as A.J. Jacobs and Stefan Fatsis have managed to make their off-kilter passions at once charming and compelling by utilizing humor and heart, Pierson's self-indulgence and pretention make it difficult to join her on this literal and figurative journey.

A lack of focus, an often-cold tone and the less-than-exciting parallel narratives make this slight road memoir a sleepy ride.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-393-07904-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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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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