Children's book author Medear°s has bitten off more than she can chew in trying to cover Africa and the Caribbean as well as early and modern African-American cooking. Simple recipes are nothing special: almond-infused warm milk from Morocco is soothing, but hardly worth the hour necessary to prepare it, and an eggplant dip from Nigeria is piquant, although attempts to grind, as instructed, a teaspoon of sesame seeds and a single clove of garlic in a standard blender are bound to fail. The chapter on ``Slave Kitchens'' provides some of the most interesting fodder for thought with a recipe for fried squirrel. Modern African-American dishes are somewhat characterless in comparison. It is hard to discern any appropriate cultural roots in crab salad with feta dressing and fajitas filled with shellfish. A brief, tacked-on chapter supplies menus and a few dishes for holidays like Juneteenth (June 19, emancipation day in Texas) and Kwanzaa. There are a few cooking faux pas here that simply cannot be ignored: A recipe for black beans and rice calls for undrained canned beans, adding a hefty dose of sodium, and a recipe for Ethiopia's flat injera bread calls for Aunt Jemima's Deluxe Easy Pour Pancake Mix in place of the traditional grain teff; while this may be the way injera is commonly made today, it will strike some readers as a bad ethnic joke. Medear°s dots these pages with mostly banal quotes from well- known African-Americans like Booker T. Washington, Oprah Winfrey, and...herself. A multicultural mess.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 1994

ISBN: 0-525-93834-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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.


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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