Light reading that underscores the quirky, exasperating elements of the American justice system.

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JUSTICE EXAMINED

A HUMOROUS ROMP THROUGH THE FOIBLES OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM

A comical view of the legal profession from the perspective of a veteran attorney.

In this debut collection, Weiss compiles anecdotes from his career of more than three decades, presenting short, reader-friendly chapters, often with seemingly innocuous titles that pack a punch. In “Clothes Make the Man,” an intercepted package of lingerie sets in motion some contentious divorce proceedings, but the items in question are actually intended for the husband rather than an imagined paramour. A career criminal released on bail decides to seek a cheap sexual thrill in “Always Look for a Bargain.” The case—which combines prostitution, an undercover vice officer, counterfeit bills and a runaway car—ironically results in a sizable settlement for the injured party with the long rap sheet. “Why We Hate Judges” involves an oral surgeon who takes extremely unflattering photographs of a patient while she’s anesthetized. After the surgeon’s malpractice insurance carrier forces him to pay damages out of his own pocket, a judge decides that he can successfully sue the insurance company for an amount significantly larger than the sum he initially paid out. Weiss recognizes that most readers are now familiar with basic legal terms due to the proliferation in popular culture of crime programs and courtroom dramas, but he still makes the effort to explain them in a concise fashion. The greatest drawback, however, stems from the mechanics of the writing itself: faulty sentence structure, misspelled words and botched punctuation. Narration that slips back and forth between the present and past tenses can be disorienting. Still, despite the rough patches, the text ends on a high note. In the final chapter, “Second Chance,” Weiss recounts a notable real case that he considers to be his crowning achievement. After serving on a jury that ruled against the victim of a flophouse fire, the author eventually became the victim’s advocate in pursuit of a fair settlement based on severe injuries. The legal maneuvering required was quite remarkable and definitely worthy of consideration.

Light reading that underscores the quirky, exasperating elements of the American justice system.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2009

ISBN: 978-1434391513

Page Count: 244

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: July 30, 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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