Readers eager to learn more about Grace Kelly would be better served by reading Donald Spoto's High Society (2009) or Wendy...

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WHAT WOULD GRACE DO?

HOW TO LIVE LIFE IN STYLE LIKE THE PRINCESS OF HOLLYWOOD

A heavy-handed, tedious “self-help” book offering precious little in the way of advice—unless listing New York restaurants once patronized by Grace Kelly counts as advice.

Purportedly written as a “modern-day guide to the classic beauty and timeless style of the Hollywood starlet and real-life princess, Grace Kelly,” the narrative is just an amalgamation of the juicy bits of the books McKinnon (1001 Ridiculous Sexual Misadventures, 2009, etc.) has read about Kelly in the last year. Did you know Grace had a difficult relationship with her father? Have you heard she had affairs with her co-stars? Or that her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco was “no fairytale”? Do you know the difference between being fashionable and possessing “true style”? If not, you will learn all that and more from this mediocre book. The advice about how to “channel Grace” in one's everyday life ranges from the obvious and unspecific (“Exude confidence,” “Make friends from all walks of life,” “Remember birthdays,” “Keep in touch”) to the insultingly out of reach (“Stay at the Savoy when in London”). The author's attempts at humor are often strained: “now it's time to put your life in the dock and subpoena your inner Grace. As a witness in the vagaries of life, we can't think of anyone more expert than she”; “Keep with tradition and don’t show your husband your dress…or what’s underneath it until your wedding day.”

Readers eager to learn more about Grace Kelly would be better served by reading Donald Spoto's High Society (2009) or Wendy Leigh's True Grace (2007), both of which are quoted at length here. Readers who wish to be more like Kelly would be better off watching her films.

Pub Date: April 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-1592408283

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Gotham Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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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