Those most interested in the book’s minutiae will be rabid fans who already know much of it.

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GOT THAT SOMETHING!

HOW THE BEATLES' "I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND" CHANGED EVERYTHING

A well-researched book by an author who has devoted decades to writing about the Beatles, but their breakthrough American hit can’t bear the symbolic weight of the subtitle.

If “I Want to Hold Your Hand” hadn’t “changed everything,” another Beatle hit soon would have. As has often been noted, the explosion of Beatlemania across the United States occurred shortly after the Kennedy assassination, as if a nation in mourning were somehow recapturing its innocence, so it’s no surprise that books commemorating the 50th anniversary of each would proliferate. A New York Times cultural reporter and former classical critic, Kozinn (The Beatles: From the Cavern to the Rooftop, 1995) functions here more like a scholarly researcher than a reporter or pop critic, providing plenty of information about the context, the history, the recording equipment and producer George Martin (one of the few primary sources in the text). The hit song was a watershed for the band in America, but it was just one of a string in England, and it was in fact a transitional effort for the band, who soon dropped it from their live performances and made it sound merely cute in light of their rapid musical maturation. As the author acknowledges, “If ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ was a wolf whistle disguised as a bouquet of daisies, it was also the last time that Lennon and McCartney wrote with the teenage market in mind. It soon became clear that they no longer had to.” So, what “changed everything?” The recording was the Beatles and producer George Martin’s first with a four-track tape machine, which allowed more options beyond capturing a performance and would soon lead to more tracks, more overdubbing and more options. It was the right hit at the right time with the right (for its time) technology.

Those most interested in the book’s minutiae will be rabid fans who already know much of it.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61452-089-4

Page Count: 70

Publisher: Byliner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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