for the first time. (Author tour)

FRESH AIR FIEND

TRAVEL WRITINGS

The prolific Theroux (Sir Vidia’s Shadow, 1998, etc.) gives full vent to his wanderlust in this virtuoso collection of travel

essays, all but one of which were written after his prior aggregation, Sunrise With Seamonsters (1984). Like Thoreau, who is something of a kindred spirit, Theroux combines a flinty individualism verging on crankiness, a curiosity about all manner of things, an almost pantheistic delight in nature, and a real grace of expression. Writing, he notes, is "like digging a deep hole and not quite knowing what you are going to find, like groping in a dark well-furnished room—surprises everywhere, and not just remarkable chairs but people murmuring in the weirdest postures." This description is just as apt, however, for explaining how he approaches the travel genre. As well as anyone writing in this deceptively narrow vein, Theroux understands how to filter the sights and sounds of such places as an African bush, the Yangtze River, or Christmas Island through the prism of his own personality. Essays are grouped thematically in sections dealing with his reminiscences, experiences as a kayaker and bicyclist, China, the Pacific, books of travel (by himself and others), profiles and appreciations of other writers, "fugues" about bizarre practices of other cultures, and other places in Europe, Asia, and the US. Theroux can assume all sorts of guises: reporter (sharp dissections of pre-Tiananmen Square China and pre-takeover Hong Kong), Boswell to other writers similarly compelled to write about the world (Bruce Chatwin, Graham Greene), critic (a review of William Least Heat-Moon’s PrairyErth), and lover of solitude (too numerous to mention). He can be scathingly funny on his Peace Corps experiences, discerning on the rigors of polar exploration, clinical on illnesses he’s contracted on five different continents, and lyrical on exotic lands threatened by commercialization. A feast for both Theroux aficionados and those lucky enough to experience his distinctive world-view and evocative prose

for the first time. (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 8, 2000

ISBN: 0-618-03406-4

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2000

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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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