The navel-gazing about the pluses and minuses of modernization is expendable, but Holliday provides a lively snapshot of an...

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EATING KOREA

REPORTS ON A CULINARY RENAISSANCE

A British journalist who lived in Korea in the 1990s chronicles his return in 2015, when he found the culinary landscape transformed, mostly for the better.

It didn’t seem promising when a friend took Holliday (Eating Viet Nam, 2015) to a small restaurant in downtown Seoul and invited him to eat pizza flavored with fruitcake, proclaiming, “this is the future.” While teaching in Korea 20 years earlier, the author fell in love with its down-home, superspicy food; fruitcake pizza was not his idea of a good development. However, he was excited by the new pride Koreans take in their cuisine, no longer embarrassed that it is “too smelly, too spicy.” So Holliday decided to travel around the country sampling its quintessential dishes. He fears—as he notes a few too many times—that traditional Korean food is disappearing like the old hanok bungalows bulldozed to make way for skyscrapers. On the contrary, he discovered, the new cooks take pride in reclaiming old recipes. As the narrative moves out of Seoul into the provinces, the author makes palpable the “glorious stench” and mouth-burning tastes of a highly spiced cuisine, from kimchi to bibimbap, a one-bowl festival of flavors that is a specialty of the city of Jeonju. Like many food books, the parade of one meal after another can become wearying, and Holliday’s lingering descriptions of textures and substances that are bizarre by Western standards (“it was as if a urinal cake were now lodged inside me”) are not for the squeamish. But his cook’s tour also includes interesting observations on Korea’s rapidly changing society: the increasing assertiveness of its once-subservient women counterpoised against the rage for plastic surgery, its “quickly-quickly” culture contrasted with the mysterious concept of han, a state of soul combining “irresolvable pain [and] unrealizable dreams” that Koreans regard as a uniquely national quality.

The navel-gazing about the pluses and minuses of modernization is expendable, but Holliday provides a lively snapshot of an ancient culture in transition.

Pub Date: April 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-240076-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Anthony Bourdain/Ecco

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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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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