STRONG OPINIONS

Hauteur is Nabokov's middle name. Even when admitting to intellectual lacunae, he does so with the air of an aristocrat putting a peasant in his place: "I am completely ignorant of Wittgenstein's works, and the first time I heard his name must have been in the fifties. In Cambridge I played football and wrote Russian verse." This is a great way of getting through life. Such self-assurance usually charms people or cows them. Either way it insures one's supreme independence, both allows one to preen one's own feathers and snip at the plumage of rival peacocks. Strong Opinions — a collection of Nabokov's articles, interviews, letters to editors, and fugitive book reviews — is a marvel of malicious glee, deft phrases, and iconoclastic absurdities. His literary judgments, in particular, are deliciously haywire, as if a lunatic had been reading too much of Oscar Wilde: "Finnegan's Wake is nothing but a formless and dull mass of phony folklore, a cold pudding of a book, a persistent snore in the next room, most aggravating to the insomniac I am." Since this sort of whimsy goes on for pages and pages, Strong Opinions is less a portrait of Nabokov the master novelist, or even Nabokov the narcissist, than it is a little joke book concocted by Nabokov the funnyman, whose favorite American films, not too surprisingly, are those of the Marx Brothers. How cold intellects love Groucho and his nutty family! But can one picture Nabokov in a Marx Brothers film? Perhaps — as a replacement for Margaret Dumont, the statuesque stuffy society grande dame.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 1973

ISBN: 0679726098

Page Count: 367

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1973

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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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