A stark and meditative but loosely organized coffee-table book.

MAIN STREET USA

A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY TO FORGOTTEN AMERICA

A photographer sets out to capture the decaying main streets of America in this photo book.

Many of the country’s small towns are undergoing tragic transformation, as increased automation and outsourcing have eliminated factory jobs, and in many places, the steel and coal industries have largely dried up. In this debut collection, Chiusano, a retired professional photographer, documents these communities. He spent much of his life in the suburbs of Boston, but after the death of his wife of 36 years in 2009, he took to the roads, exploring locales outside of America’s coastal hubs and documenting forgotten parts of the country. These include small towns below the Mason-Dixon Line; quiet, rural unincorporated territories of New England; and desert warehouses in the Southwest. He shows—in digital and film images, in color and black-and-white—how mom-and-pop businesses of yesteryear have been replaced by franchises, such as Dunkin’ Donuts, but also how entrepreneurs have turned old retail locations into small restaurants or odd, niche curiosity shops. Although Chiusano’s text sometimes expresses optimism it’s often difficult to see it in the faces of the people he captures in his photographs. One image of an elderly couple helping each other walk down the street, for example, is particularly tragic, as nobody from the next generation is around to assist them. The author’s captions, though, are short and imprecise; some reveal their subjects’ location and others don’t, and Chiusano’s journey isn’t presented in any discernible, chronological order. Instead, loose categorization breaks the book up, with headings such as “Structure,” “People,” “Pride of Place,” and others, although these seem largely interchangeable. Despite the focus on people and the places where they live, the book also revels in old signage, logos, and advertisements—an appealing flourish that could easily have anchored a section unto itself.

A stark and meditative but loosely organized coffee-table book.

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692997-22-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2019

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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