WINE SNOBBERY

AN EXPOSÇ

Wine drinkers of America, get ready for a roasting. According to this American edition of British wine-writer Barr's exposÇ-cum-put-down, the great American wine boom of the 70's and early 80's was fueled by white wines that we drank too cold and too sweet, and specifically by pop wines, coolers, and that fad of the bourgeoisie, white zinfandel. The imported wine we honor has been mishandled in transit. At restaurants, we pay absurd prices for ignorantly mistreated bottles. We are foolishly impressed by champagne, which has little taste, especially as made today; and the glasses we drink it from are all wrong. The Univ. of California at Davis has fostered an industrial rather than agricultural approach to wine; the result is a technically perfect product that is wholly without taste. Blind tastings are misleading, partly because wine is meant to be drunk with food, not with other wines; and California wines tend to beat those from Bordeaux and Burgundy in blind tastings partly because they mature sooner. On the other hand, we're unduly impressed by French wines, which aren't necessarily better. Worse, we are currently experiencing a national temperance movement, manifest in ``ridiculous'' health warnings. But if we are foolish, riper cultures have much to answer for. French and Italian regions sell more wine than they produce; claim fake vintage dates; indulge in misleading appellations; overcrop; and employ a jumble of additives—some toxic, some misleading, some illegal, and some of compromising quality. Snob or antisnob, read on and you, too, dear hypocrite lecteur, may squirm yet.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1992

ISBN: 0-671-70804-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1992

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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