HOW TO EAT A SMALL COUNTRY

A FAMILY'S PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, ONE MEAL AT A TIME

Third-season winner of The Next Food Network Star heads to France to rebuild her life and marriage.

After emerging as the victor, Finley found herself quickly disenchanted by her resulting 15 minutes of fame. The author walked away from it all, regarded by many as a highly controversial move, because her marriage was falling apart and nothing felt “real” anymore. She retreated back to San Diego and her estranged husband and their two small children. But it wasn't long before the author suggested a move to her husband's native France in an attempt to repair her marriage and preserve her family—and her sanity. What emerged from this sojourn is a charming, bare-bones chronicle of a woman reclaiming her family and a couple reclaiming their relationship, all through the healing qualities of time, honesty and food. Wonderful, robust French cuisine (including Finley's own homemade cheese and wine), weathered neighbors and the shops, restaurants and bakeries that dot the French countryside—all contributed not only to the family’s transformation, but the richness of the narrative as well. There is no trace of culinary elitism here, just an unadulterated joy of food, a thrill at a change of scenery and the admirable resilience of a temporarily broken and displaced family. Credit Finley's wisdom to recognize the havoc wrought upon her life by the Food Network publicity machine, endangering the tenets she fiercely held dear. The author's account of her determination to rework her life into one worth living is bracing and uplifting. A five-star read.

 

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-59138-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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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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