There are many rooms and seasons in Osler’s (A Gentle Plea for Chaos, 1998) garden: alternatives proliferate in the measure of its days, uncertainties mingle with felicities, there is restoration and ferment, there may even be potential for a decaying piano amid the willows and tall grasses. Osler is a contrarian, but not merely for the sake of being one. It’s more that there is too much potential for her to be stultified by the anointed arbiters of garden taste. She says, “Thank goodness for deviancy . . . and for a sense of fun,” for that is how a garden becomes a creation of one’s own, a sanctuary, an incitement to the senses. There is not so much particular advice in these pages as sound notions for toilers in the soil. “Novice gardeners should allow themselves from the outset the freedom to be as wayward as they want and to follow their instincts.” She can speak sensibly, in the same breath, of unity and balance in the garden, and of rusted objects and mirrors that she has deployed in an effort to achieve those qualities. And she delights in how both the expected and the unexpected can be milked for pleasure in the garden: urns and vegetables, trees (“neglect these at your peril”) and walls (“no garden should be without a wall”), water and benches and follies all have something to contribute. “What I want,” she writes, “is adventure, innovation, foolishness and discovery,” and that extends to bereaved gardeners who suddenly find themselves “left with a legacy that too often loads you down with guilt”: don’t tread water, make the garden your own. Osler never met a garden bully she didn’t instantly dislike. To watch her thumb her nose at the bullies with such flair, and with such gratifying results, is an inspiration.

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-55970-454-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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?