The whys and wherefores of our inner clocks, zestfully presented by journalist and novelist Orlock (The Goddess Letters, 1987). You say hello, and I say goodbye. So it goes, for people's body clocks are rarely in sync—and, according to Orlock, these internal timekeepers control just about everything we think, feel, or do. Chronobiology has uncovered over a hundred biological rhythms so far, with more on the way. They fall into three categories: ultradian (short—e.g., the firing of neurons); circadian (24-hour—e.g., the wake-sleep cycle); and infradian (long—e.g., the menstrual cycle or—the longest of them all—the life/death cycle). Orlock's jaunty tour of this fledgling science includes plenty of ethology, including Darwin's studies of biorhythms in plants and earthworms. The focus, however, is on humans—who appear to be a lot like puppets tugged by chemical strings. Migraines, calorie intake, alacrity of thought—all bow before internal cycles. Some facts amaze: when asleep, we ordinarily ``breathe through one nostril for three hours, with the tissue in the other nostril slightly engorged, then we switch''; more sobering is Orlock's discussion of the millions of Americans who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder—serious depression brought on by winter. To battle the cycle blues, Orlock proffers plenty of advice: If you want to lose weight, eat in the morning; for best sex, wait until October; to cure jet lag, splash yourself with sunbeams. How to tell inner time—and how to beat the clock. Fun.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1993

ISBN: 1-55972-194-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Birch Lane Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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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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