The quality, humor and variety make for another successful New Yorker collection.

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THE BIG NEW YORKER BOOK OF CATS

A worthy follow-up to last year's Big New Yorker Book of Dogs.

Covers, cartoons, authors of pieces both longer and shorter, reflect current views of the feline subject in all its glory, and sometimes disgrace, as well as those of bygone days. Poets like Ted Hughes and Robert Graves sit alongside contributions from the magazine's former regular columnists—e.g., James Thurber's 1952 post-party tale “The Case of Dimity Ann” and E.B White's informative “How To Make a Cat Trap” (1930). White offers both a complicated assembly job and a simpler, more lethal one for those hardy enough to try. In “The Cats” (2003), John Updike writes about inheriting eight acres and countless cats. Included in this generous collection are big cats, lost cats, Army cats, bookstore and even wine-shop cats, cat therapists, a cat man, catsitters and cat savers. Cartoons and covers reflect more of these cross or interspecies types of rapport and humor. In 1954, a Republican owner of a Manx cat reported his pet's reaction to the mention of the name “Harry Truman” and how he got her down from the living room mantel by saying “Eisenhower.” In one cartoon, a dinner-party host arrives with a cat perched atop a tray and asks his guests, “Cat, anyone?”; another cartoon wonders, “Who's Really Running the City.” This theme is also echoed in some of the selections included among the 24 cover reproductions, like the Sleeping Beauty from Nov. 24, 1997, or the Cat vs. Dog game of chess from June 24, 1974. Other contributors include Roald Dahl, Jamaica Kincaid, Haruki Murakami, Susan Orlean, Robert Pinsky, Ariel Levy, T.C. Boyle and Steven Millhauser.

The quality, humor and variety make for another successful New Yorker collection.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-679-64477-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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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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