Bugialli (Giuliano Bugialli's Foods of Italy, not reviewed) provides some unusual, challenging recipes—not an easy feat in the crowded field of Italian cookbooks. However, what is just a good cookbook could have been a great one with the inclusion of more information. A brief introduction explains the provenance of his recipes (many researched as far back as the 14th century) and declares that they derive from various regions, but the recipes themselves are free-floating, without subheads (i.e., it would be nice to know which region each comes from) and with few hints to facilitate preparation. The photographs, while luscious, are no help either since they often do not coincide with Bugialli's instructions. For example, in the recipe for Spaghetti with Air- Dried Cherry Tomatoes, Bugialli instructs the cook to toss pasta, tomatoes, and parsley in the casserole used to cook the tomatoes, then serve, but the photograph shows a serving bowl of pasta with tomatoes and parsley on top still waiting to be combined. Even more vexing was Schiacciata (a flat bread similar to focaccia) with Fresh Grapes. While the result was delicious, it looked nothing like the example, which was rectangular in shape even though the recipe calls for rolling the dough out into a circle. Nor is it clear why one should fit a 16-inch circle of dough into a 14-inch pan. Could the disparity have been due to the tough dough? No clues are forthcoming. A treat for those who enjoy leaping in with little guidance, but not for the novice. (Book-of-the-Month Club selection)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 1994

ISBN: 1-55670-384-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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.


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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