An acerbic, witty guide to journalism that, if used, would get you fired.

The Bureau Chiefs, the team behind the Twitter feed @FakeAPStylebook, have finally figured out a way to get paid as journalists: Adapt the hilarious Twitter account into an all-encompassing stylebook of the ridiculous. But instead of simply hitting print on their browser page and handing it to a publisher like so many other Internet sensations, the authors have put serious effort into this collection, which includes more than 90 percent original material. They've simplified how to report crime, politics and the supernatural, among other typical journalism beats, with advice such as, “Use ‘disgraced politician’ on first use, ‘expert political analyst’ on later mention.” The authors embrace the comforts of mobile technology and encourage other journalists to do the same. War reporters are instructed to stay cozy under their sheets, so they won’t lying when they tell their editors they are “embedded.” Other sage witticisms include proper use of the term “World War,” which should be employed when describing “conflicts involving countries on at least three continents. For largescale battles against clones, killer tomatoes, or a fifty-foot woman, use ‘attack’ instead.” The authors also highlight the proper way to cite sources, the fine points of grammar and media law and each chapter comes with its own glossary of terms. Funny tips and quips celebrating the dying art of journalism and the shamefully low standards imposed on media types thanks to the Internet.


Pub Date: April 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-71958-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Three Rivers/Crown

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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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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