PRODUCE PETE'S 'FARMACOPEIA'

It is a sign of this book's lackadaisical presentation that even the subtitle (``from apples to zucchini, and everything in between...'') is inaccurate. This alphabetical guide to shopping for familiar and exotic fruits and vegetables, with the occasional recipe, begins with ``apples'' and ends with ``watercress''; zucchini are listed under ``squash.'' Napolitano, who owns a New Jersey produce store and makes occasional TV appearances, has exactly the opposite attitude toward produce that one might expect: He pays no heed to local growing seasons. By his measure, the delicate, warm-weather green arugula is ``available year round.'' He also has a devil-may-care attitude about chemicals, at one point boasting, ``I've been eating apples all my life—they're practically my favorite fruit—and I don't worry about alar.'' Recipes are tired versions of the same old thing (the world doesn't need another recipe for eggplant Parmesan) and seem geared to masking any fresh taste. Portobello mushrooms looked juicy and tempting after being broiled, but the lime-juice marinade overwhelmed them with tartness; strawberries were coated in sugar before being added to muffins, which covered up their natural sweetness. Napolitano revels in old, bad jokes. For storing strawberries he recommends, ``Rule 1: Refrigerate. Rule 2: Refrigerate. Rule 3: Refrigerate.'' Those who appreciate this kind of humor are in luck, because they'll get another sample under the Ts: ``The three most important rules to remember about tomatoes are 1. Never refrigerate! 2. Never refrigerate! 3. Never refrigerate!'' Corny year-round. (75 illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-12847-5

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1994

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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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