In this unappetizing and tacky effort, Philbin and Gifford (Cooking with Regis and Kathie Lee, not reviewed) combine recipes from guests on their hyperirritating morning chat show with those from their friends and family in chapters organized by holiday (Memorial Day, Easter and Passover, etc.). There are some terrific dishes here, but they are without exception those from professionals, like Daniel Boulud, many of whom have written their own, far superior books. Recipes from friends and relatives could have come from a 1950s ladies' auxiliary cookbook: ambrosia fruit salad with marshmallows and flaked coconut, and jelly thumbprint butter cookies that are virtual cholesterol bombs. The overall presentation is sloppy and disorienting, with boxed information often serving to confuse rather than help. What is a definition of wheat berries doing on a page with a recipe for rendering chicken fat? Worse than the food are the coy, name-dropping anecdotes and tips dripping with self-importance. Gifford says that her trick for staying slim is ``doing an exercise video'' because ``thousands of people will see your fat thighs if you don't.'' Party suggestions sound straight out of the Girl Scouts—for Saint Patrick's Day hosts are instructed to attach an ``O'' to the name of each guest and address them as ``for instance, Mr. O'Steinberg.'' Want to throw the cheesiest party of the year? This is your guide. (First serial to Good Housekeeping; Literary Guild/Better Homes & Gardens Book Club selections)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 1994

ISBN: 0-7868-6067-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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.


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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