THE ENCHANTED WORLD OF SLEEP

An entertaining albeit at times rather academic discussion of what research has uncovered about the nature of sleep and sleep disorders. Lavie, a sleep researcher and dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, is clearly enthralled with his subject, and his enthusiasm shines through the sometimes stilted presentation. The author gives a brief history of the young field of sleep research—the first sleep recordings of brain-wave activity were conducted at Harvard in 1935, and the discovery of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the sleep of dreaming, was not made until 1953—describes what goes on in a sleep laboratory and outlines what science has learned about biological clocks, dreams, the sleep of animals, and sleep deprivation. Memorable facts emerge: The dolphin, it seems, sleeps with half its brain awake, and humans can go without food longer than without sleep. In the second half of the book Lavie concentrates on sleep disorders and their treatment. His discussion of insomnia includes a fascinating account of research conducted in Haifa during the Gulf War, which concluded that while people were afraid to go to sleep for fear of missing the warning alarm of a Scud missile attack, once they fell asleep, they slept normally. Lavie describes the use of phototherapy, or light therapy, in the treatment of jet lag and sleep timing disorders; mechanical solutions to the problems of sleep apnea, in which the sleeper stops breathing; and the strange malady of narcolepsy, which is marked by sudden, uncontrollable attacks of daytime sleep. For parents, there are explanations of children's sleep patterns and advice on dealing with their sleep problems, and for the elderly, there are cruel truths about the fragility of sleep in old age. An eye-opening trip through the land of sleep by a thoroughly professional guide.

Pub Date: May 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-300-06602-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1996

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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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