A no-frills primer aimed squarely at a socially conservative Christian readership.

READ REVIEW

MAN SQUARE

A concise guide for women who want to understand their men.

According to debut author Hibbler, “men are simple,” and this guide to understanding them is too: it’s fewer than 30 pages, about half of which feature stick-figure illustrations rather than text. With no space for mincing words, Hibbler gets right down to helping women who “are still at a loss when it comes to men.” As Hibbler sees it, men have four parts analogous to the four equal sides of a square: loyalty, food, solitude, and sex. If they succeed in fulfilling those four basic requirements, Hibbler states, women will be able to satisfy the men in their lives. He does make an exception for those he describes as “useless men,” advising his female readers: “If he has no purpose for his life, he will be a deadbeat, no matter what you do.” The author states early on that “the Bible is [the] foundation” to understanding men but makes only a few references to specific biblical teachings, leaving the rationale for the rest of his advice unclear. Most of that advice is stated in vague terms without instructions for practical application. For example, on loyalty, Hibbler writes: “He needs to feel that it is automatic and natural as the relationship develops,” without offering strategies for how a woman might take action to foster that feeling. Similarly, Hibbler frequently fails to explain why his observations are specific to men. “Most men will respond to their favorite foods in a positive way,” he writes but does not say why this response might be different or more pronounced for men. What’s more, Hibbler’s views hew so closely to traditional gender norms—“men should not have a feminine side”; “God put the man ahead of the woman”—that many modern women will most likely be put off. Still, the author’s conversational tone and complete lack of pretense may appeal to conservative-leaning readers looking for a new perspective on male/female relationships.

A no-frills primer aimed squarely at a socially conservative Christian readership.

Pub Date: July 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-1496926449

Page Count: 48

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2015

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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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