Wilson’s amusing tales explore the fine line between desire and disgust.

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IN THE GLOW OF THE LAVALAMP

STORIES OF BAD SEX AND OTHER MISFORTUNES

A set of stories about embarrassing moments, including disappointing sexual experiences.

“Everybody who’s had sex more than a time or two has had lousy sex,” debut author Wilson writes. This short, humorous collection of anecdotes effectively aims to normalize such moments and help readers find humor in their own lives by laughing at others’. Wilson says that she collected the sex-related stories, which make up most of the book, from both friends and strangers, and she renders them here as first-person narratives. (However, she fictionalizes people’s names, identifying information, and sometimes chronologies of events.) For instance, in “The Fairy Queen,” set in 1999, a 25-year-old woman named Roseanne recounts fooling around with Scott, who dressed her as a fairy for a photo shoot, complete with body makeup and hair woven into the headboard. After she confused flower tendrils for a spider, she lashed out and inadvertently knocked him over. Pinned to the bed, she could do little to help when he hit his head—and then his mother walked in. Many other pieces here are similarly outlandish, hilarious, and excruciating in equal measure. Intestinal distress and a malfunctioning sunroof spoil a tryst in a cemetery in “Stayin’ Alive,” for example, and flatulence ensures that a date can’t get too serious in “The Battle Below the Clouds.” In several tales, Wilson presents women who can’t reconcile themselves to their partners’ fantasies; in one, a woman’s boyfriend begs her to try anal sex with him, but she can’t overcome her aversion to the idea. The best story in the collection, however, is “The Adjunct,” in which the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Emily Dickinson convince a literature professor to dump a former student who’s merely using her for sex. A brief second section contains David Sedaris–like accounts of other, nonsexual awkward moments; of these, the scatological “The Funeral Weekend” is a highlight.

Wilson’s amusing tales explore the fine line between desire and disgust.

Pub Date: March 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9976355-6-0

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Wandering in the Words Press

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2017

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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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