An enticing entrée for those in search of extreme weather in a scenic clime.

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THE PALACE OF THE SNOW QUEEN

WINTER TRAVELS IN LAPLAND

An American travel writer details how the Arctic winter in Lapland warmed her heart.

With a childhood affinity for Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” and a desperate need to emerge from the fog of grief following a painful breakup in 2001, Sjoholm (Incognito Street: How Travel Made Me a Writer, 2006, etc.) sought a dramatic change of scene. So the Washington state native decided to take a Norwegian friend up on her offer to spend Christmas with her. “I wanted extremity and silence, a winter world to mirror my sense of loss,” writes the author, “an absence of sunshine while I found my bearings again.” That three-month sojourn led to another two years later, followed by a third excursion the year after; the experiences of all three trips comprise these engaging tales of winter in the northern reaches of Finland, Sweden and Norway. Sjoholm took off for Sweden in late 2001. Her first stop was the village of Jukkasjärvi to witness the annual construction of the renowned Icehotel, a marvelous 60-room structure of snow and ice built by architects and artists each fall to host about 13,000 visitors then melt the following spring—what the author aptly dubs “a fine example of art for art’s sake.” She then attends an unforgettable performance of Macbeth, staged outside in the Ice Globe Theatre in temperatures as cold as -13° F. Other trip highlights include a visit to the post office in Rovaniemi, Finland, the unofficial North Pole and recipient of all unstamped letters to Santa; an enchanting encounter with reindeer; and a traumatic attempt at dogsledding. Sjoholm also offers thoughtful sociopolitical ruminations on the plight of the nomadic Sami—the indigenous people of Sápmi, which today includes parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia—and, somewhat paradoxically for one in search of darkness, numerous moving descriptions of the ever-changing, often ephemeral natural light.

An enticing entrée for those in search of extreme weather in a scenic clime.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-59376-159-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Shoemaker & Hoard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2007

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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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