CATLORE

In following up his insightful Q&A-style treatise on feline behavior, Catwatching (1987), Morris here answers 60 equally engrossing questions, this time supplied by readers of the earlier work. The questions run the gamut on feline life—everything from will one female feed another's kittens (yes) and what are the best pets for allergy-sufferers (Cornish Rexes and hairless Sphynxes) to why do some cats suck on wool (the equivalent to thumb-sucking in humans—a substitute for suckling) and how and when was the cat first domesticated and bred. Morris also deftly researches the origins of such unusual terms and expressions as "catgut" and "grinning like a Cheshire cat." Cat aficionados may take exception to one of Morris' assertions—that neutering a cat is "butchery" done only for the owner's convenience, and should be replaced by tube-tying. (Though this solution might be applicable, and in some situations even desirable, one wonders whether Morris has fully considered the dangers of unneutered cats that run away from home during mating season, and the virtual impossibility of keeping odiferous cats—toms that spray—in multifamily dwellings.) With the exception noted, perceptive and enlightening—and for cat lovers, not to be missed.

Pub Date: May 1, 1988

ISBN: 0517127415

Page Count: -

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1988

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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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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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