While some readers may wish for deeper explorations of some of Booth’s subjects, he covers the current state of Japanese...

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SUPER SUSHI RAMEN EXPRESS

ONE FAMILY'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE BELLY OF JAPAN

A British food and travel writer takes his wife, two young sons, and a bubbly brand of humor to Japan in hopes of examining the food culture and losing a few of the pounds he has picked up living and cooking in Paris.

In short, punchy chapters, Booth (The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia, 2015, etc.) recounts his adventures on “a foodie family road trip lasting just under three months,” sticking to the subjects at hand. He may not reach any novel conclusions about Japanese cuisine, but he vividly sums up the sensory experience of bonito flakes, with their “addictive smoky-citric flavor,” or dashi, “sweet as spring peas ripe from the pod, yet complex with the tang of ocean.” Many of the author’s most delightful experiences involved his family. He took them along to a sumo “stable” to see how the wrestlers achieve their vast girth, and one of the “colossal walrus people” allowed Booth’s 6-year-old son to pin him. The author also hiked with his family up “a forest road strewn with the corpses of poisonous snakes” to experience nagashi-somen, noodles launched down a mountain river for diners to catch on the fly. More often, Booth toured production facilities on his own, seeking out real wasabi—remarkably hard to find even in Japan—and Kobe beef. He also attempted, with partial success, to make sense of “the two rival culinary camps that divide Japan,” one centered in Tokyo and the other in Kyoto and Osaka. Though Booth trained as a chef in Paris, his tastes are delightfully eclectic: he is as apt to indulge in a 10-hour “food crawl” of Osakan fast-food noodle joints as he is to savor the most delicate sushi, and he evokes both experiences with gusto.

While some readers may wish for deeper explorations of some of Booth’s subjects, he covers the current state of Japanese cuisine with humor and intelligence.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-09980-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Picador

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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