RANCH OF DREAMS

THE HEARTWARMING STORY OF AMERICA'S MOST UNUSUAL ANIMAL SANCTUARY

Cruelty is disgusting, and Amory (The Best Cat Ever, 1993, etc.) paints it just so in this story of the haven he helped create for animals suffering from every rank and radius of human abuse. By now Amory is perhaps better known for his advocacy of the decent treatment of animals than for his reviews in TV Guide, and his ranch in east Texas—Black Beauty Ranch, after the book chronicling the frightful abuse of the eponymous horse—is gaining a like reputation. There, animals are allowed to do as they please in a place they feel belongs to them (though ranch hands keep a weather eye out for them). Here Amory tells the stories of various animals and how they made their way to Black Beauty; the tales are by and large horrific, though most have happy endings. Amory is a wry companion whose aristocratic humor sparkles with a biting contempt for all those who would do harm to animals, from the US Navy, which allowed rare Andalusian goats to be shot for sport on one of its shelling ranges, to the National Park Service, with its cruel treatment of burros and buffalo, and the Bureau of Land Management, equally guilty in its handling of wild horses. He also gets in good clean digs at the much-heralded San Diego Zoo, where elephants are splayed and soundly beaten with ax handles if they prove too spunky. Not all is anecdotal as Amory includes an intelligent history of the horse, an explanation of brucellosis and how it relates to the shooting of buffalo that wander out of Yellowstone Park, and additional background information that makes supposedly ``humane'' extermination of animals look barbaric. Amory's simple point—that our treatment of animals should be governed by the rules of common decency and respect—is stated convincingly, with brio and great dignity. (16 pages photos, not seen) (Author tour; TV satellite tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-670-87762-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1997

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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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