This unappealing, disorganized, catastrophe of a cookbook paints an unhealthy picture of country fare. The authors (The Brooklyn Cookbook, 1991) tout this volume as an effort to keep the spirit of rural America alive and squealing. Unfortunately, with concoctions like the cholesterol-laden Midwest Spam Salad (that mystery meat done with a cup of Miracle Whip, three eggs, and a cup of cheddar cheese) and the pork-fat seasoned Venison Scrapple, readers will run for the big city. And who needs a recipe for greasy Greek Brown Butter Spaghetti (brown a stick of butter, pour over pasta, then toss with Parmesan cheese) or Tater Pigs (stuff one pork link sausage into a hole bored into an Idaho potato and bake) or Sugar on Snow (dribble warm maple syrup over crushed ice)? Any attempt to head directly to the few healthful, appetizing creations, like Esther Stipp's Yellow Squash Summer Soup made without cream (and only a little oil to sautÇ the onion and garlic) is thwarted by the authors' decision to organize these recipes according to the eight regions (New England, the South, the Great Lakes, etc.) and nearly 100 fairs at which they can be found. Furthermore, the recipes compete with an overabundance of information on the fairs themselves—including directions for getting there and where to park, and what fair exhibitor Sara Morris has been doing since her first 4-H exhibit in the third grade. Makes one grateful not to be a country boy.

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 1994

ISBN: 0-7868-6014-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet