Galloping Gourmet host Kerr (Day-by-Day Gourmet Cookbook, 2007, etc.) offers the cautionary tale of his first kitchen garden.

Around the time Michelle Obama broke ground on the White House garden, the author was also trying his hand at the “earth-to-table process.” Kerr relates to any would-be gardeners his story of novice green-thumbing and provides a helpful “Need-to-Know” section for others to follow. He details the cultivation and cooking of 60 edible plants, the majority of which are accompanied by a handful of recipes and supplementary nutritional information. Although the author aims to inspire others to increase their daily fruit and vegetable intake, Kerr’s labor- and money-intensive trials may turn off some potential gardeners. And while he may intend the book to reach out to space-starved city-dwellers in addition to rural plotters, the author provides little useful advice for an economical and efficient urban kitchen garden. Kerr’s account of his first growing season is one of experience, not expertise, but he pulls it off with an enjoyably humorous and familiar tone. The book, however, falls short as a reference work for novices; the author often suggests reaching out to a “local knowledge expert,” leaving much of the research up to the reader, even in the important Need-to-Know list. But he does provide helpful instructions for how each fruit and vegetable should be handled once it arrives in the kitchen, whether from one’s own garden or the greenmarket down the street. A book lacking in gardening know-how but quite useful for its cooking tips.  


Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-53612-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Perigee/Penguin

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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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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