Whatever the reason, readers of his engaging narrative will be happy to spend a few more days in his company. (8-page color...

SAILING THE PACIFIC

A VOYAGE ACROSS THE LONGEST STRETCH OF WATER ON EARTH, AND A JOURNEY INTO ITS PAST

A British-born newcomer describes his pleasant, single-handed sailing mooch across an unequalled expanse of water, the Southern Ocean between New Zealand and South America.

Hordern’s remarkably unsentimental about his 28-footer, rather small for so formidable an ocean, and he’s unspooked by the legendary weather regularly dished out in such latitudes. Not that Hordern is smug or stupid; he simply finds himself an inextricable thread woven into the history of sailing the South Pacific: “bound up with Greek cosmologers, medieval mapmakers, poets, and whalers.” His equipment is simple and efficient, he likes what he is doing, he trusts the auguries. He won't ignore a storm warning, but what really raises the hair on his neck is reading that a set of reefs or shoals are doubtfully positioned on his chart, perhaps phantoms altogether; though Davis Land, Sophie Christiansen Shoal, and Emily Rock have been spotted numerous times, they’ve failed to be spotted an equal number. While he appreciates GPS as part of the routine when he gets his noon fix, he’s more impressed by how he has become a sea creature in his own right. “You have an agility, a set of physical skills, that aren't needed on land,” he comments. Through it all, Hordern is a master of deadpan: “I made landfall on the coast of Chilean Patagonia in mid December, after a six-week passage.” Falling overboard during a squall is a worthy little story, but more fascinating to Hordern is an event “easy to describe . . . not easy to explain”; when he got to Easter Island after some serious sailing, he scooted on past. Similarly, within hailing distance of New Zealand on his return, Hordern turned his boat around and sailed aimlessly for three days, finally landing in Fiji. He confides to a friend that he thinks it was a nervous breakdown.

Whatever the reason, readers of his engaging narrative will be happy to spend a few more days in his company. (8-page color photo insert)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-312-31081-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2003

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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