A charming, moral work about family life in modern America.

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Let's Pretend We're Christians and Play in the Snow

THE ADVENTURES OF A JEWISH DAD

Heartfelt, funny reflections on parenting and family life from a Jewish father.

Harris (Fifty Shades of Schwarz, 2013) treats readers to a book of tales that feels like sitting at a family dinner in his home. The anecdotes follow his life, from meeting his wife to the present day, covering plenty of ground in between. They have three children, two of whom were adopted from Latin America, and the middle son is gay—“just your average American family,” Harris says. The way in which their two adopted children came to join their family is lovingly and humorously detailed, as Harris delves into the experience of traveling to a foreign country, with its slow bureaucracy, in hopes of bringing home a new child. There’s the all-night screaming from his second son and the frustrating but necessary path through the court systems to speed up the adoption. Harris has led an interesting life, traveling internationally after high school and eventually making a career in the finance industry as a very young married man, but throughout the book, it’s obvious his love for his family is paramount; in fact, his family devotion has occasionally cost him career advancement. “Having reached my forties,” he says, “I wasn’t willing to advance my career by working the kind of long hours chained to a desk the way I had twenty years earlier, before I had kids, when the sacrifice seemed worth it.” Elsewhere, he amusingly conveys the titular anecdote and how Harris’ elder son convinced the family to embrace vegetarianism. Harris isn’t shy about making his opinions known or sharing philosophies and tactics that have worked for him as a father, making the book valuable beyond entertainment. The relevance of Judaism to parenting, family life and moral conduct is a recurring theme in the work, too, and Harris seems uniquely qualified to speak of a modern understanding of Judaism, as a father to children of three races and varying sexualities.

A charming, moral work about family life in modern America.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989807609

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Fifty Tales Media, LLC

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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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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