An agreeable memoir about a psychic in suburbia.

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THE RELUCTANT MEDIUM

RECLAIMING THE POWER OF WOMEN'S INTUITION

The memoir of a woman whose “women’s intuition” verges into the supernatural.

“I’m a registered nurse,” writes Devlin at the opening of her nonfiction debut. “I’m a rational-health practitioner with a solid career.” But, she goes on: “I’m also a person who’s had psychic experiences since I was a little girl.” Devlin maintains that contrast in a low-key way throughout her book, which abounds with everyday examples of her exercising what she at one point calls “the power of our inner knowing.” This knowing isn’t the type that addresses spiritual realms, which is so popular with psychic memoirs, but is based in the material world. The author believes that we have collectively lost sight of the value we once placed in intuitive abilities and feels that most people possess these abilities but don’t realize it—and certainly haven’t been schooled in their use. The book’s clear prose and preponderance of well-told anecdotes—always mixing just the right amounts of drama and humor—make it an easy, enjoyable read no matter how skeptical readers may be. Devlin’s anecdotes won’t convince the disbelievers, however. She relates an instance where she had an intuitive flash of a crashing tree, inspected the nearby trees on her regular walk, spotted one pulling against the ground in a wind, and warned the people in the adjacent house just before the tree crashed onto their roof. “I felt proud that I’d followed my intuition and possibly saved a life or two,” she writes. This may be read as a story about the author seeing an uprooted tree and warning those in danger rather than a moment of clairvoyance. It and countless other stories are given their import mainly by her own personal contention that “there are no coincidences.” Readers who think there are coincidences may find their patience strained at times even by so personable an author.

An agreeable memoir about a psychic in suburbia.

Pub Date: July 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-80844-3

Page Count: 200

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2017

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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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