Well taken. A thoughtful, reasonable, and eminently worthy companion to recent books such as David Moats’s Civil Wars (Feb....

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WHY MARRIAGE MATTERS

AMERICA, EQUALITY, AND GAY PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO MARRY

Why does marriage matter? In part, according to Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, because it secures civil rights that unmarried people—more specifically, unmarried gays and lesbians—do not have.

That inequality, Wolfson argues, is fundamentally wrong and suspiciously un-American. Gays and lesbians, he urges, “speak the vocabulary of marriage, live the personal commitment of marriage, do the hard work of marriage, and share the responsibilities we associate with marriage.” He adds, “It’s time to allow them the same freedom every other American has—the freedom to marry.” As Wolfson well knows, there are powerful forces arrayed against any judge or legislature with a mind to grant such freedom, and discrimination abounds. He reckons that the country is about evenly divided in thirds on the issue of gay marriage: a third oppose it on any grounds, a third approve of it or at least disapprove denying it, and a third aren’t quite sure personally but are likely to reject that discrimination, meaning that, in theory, a majority of Americans are, in principle, in favor of allowing gay and lesbian marriage, providing for the portability thereof from state to state, and according married partners all rights attendant in marriage as it is civilly understood. All that will come soon, Wolfson predicts, and he imagines a happy time in the not-too-distant future when “gay people have won the freedom to marry and our society looks back and wonders what the big deal was.” Meanwhile, he examines some of the current fighting, along with a few of the villains and many heroes in the struggle, from gays and lesbians willing to bear the weight of fighting for civil rights to conflicted politicians such as the Massachusetts legislator who remarked, “The Constitution has always required us to reach beyond our moral and emotional grasp.”

Well taken. A thoughtful, reasonable, and eminently worthy companion to recent books such as David Moats’s Civil Wars (Feb. 2004).

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-7432-6458-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2004

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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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