MEN AND PANDAS

Men, women and children now rate pandas on their top ten list of animal favorites. T'was not always so. And the story of the discovery of this China doll and its subsequent rise to unprecedented popularity (with the help of the Teddy Bear) is truly fascinating. The first recording of the Giant Panda by a European was in the 1800's and was submitted by a French missionary who, distressed by the state of the Chinese heathen, pursued his naturalist/scientific bent. Later, museums vied for pelts to mount and display and status seeking hunters journeyed round the world for an unsure shot at the rare specimens. Among these were the sons of Teddy Roosevelt. But most interesting is the story of the first attempt to bring back a specimen. American Bill Harkness left his two week old marriage to complete with Britisher Floyd Tangier Smith only to die mysteriously in Shanghai His wife Ruth then took over for an equally mysterious expedition which did manage to net a baby, promptly named Su-Lin and brought to the U.S. It's been "panda-monium" ever since as this book points out. The authors write well with particular attention to detail and the pictures as well as the subject are charming.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 1967

ISBN: 0722162316

Page Count: 150

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1967

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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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