From someplace called Minnesota comes a Nelson funnier than Ozzie, Ricky, Lord or Half. Nimble foolery packed in minipieces.

MIKE NELSON’S MIND OVER MATTERS

The author of Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese (not reviewed) and quondam host of Comedy Central’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 offers some small, comic essays. The result is, happily, laughable.

In nearly 60 short pieces, Nelson covers the traditional bases required of funny authors and easily gains admission to the Professional Droll Writers' Union. He deals nicely with such facetious topics as the arts, outdoor life (with animals), indoor life (with relatives), recalled youth, food, human anatomy, coping with life, and general introspection. He has difficulties, like Great-Grandfather Leacock, in diverse everyday settings. He delivers a generic business speech that could easily precede Grandpa Benchley's immortal Treasurer's Report. And, like Cousin Dave Barry, he sees value in eponymous book titles. The good old subjects of pique include hotel stays and semi-amateur theatricals. Other, more modern, takes cover cell-phone shouters, big-box stores, and performance art (semi-amateur theatricals). Nelson reveals that he's for flesh-based food. He asserts, in another thoughtful think piece, that the heyday of the buttock is past. Especially neat is a thumbnail novel in the mode of Dickens, or someone very like Dickens, in which the final colloquy calls for a performance in the style of the late Stepin Fetchit or, perhaps, someone very like the late Lionel Atwill. And there's a fine little history of television that could only have been produced after some pretty shameful viewing and detailed study of many fanzines. Certainly, not all of Nelson's columns stand equally well, but the memoirs and prescriptions, the discourses and proscriptions are, on the whole, bright and easy. Take them a bit at a time and savor the once and (we pray) future world of comic writing.

From someplace called Minnesota comes a Nelson funnier than Ozzie, Ricky, Lord or Half. Nimble foolery packed in minipieces.

Pub Date: March 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-093614-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HarperEntertainment

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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IN MY PLACE

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

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