Short, anecdotal material that animal-lovers can dip into with relish.

READ REVIEW

NO DOGS IN HEAVEN?

SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF A COUNTRY VETERINARIAN

Buoyant, tenderhearted stories of a rural veterinarian’s days and nights on the job.

Sharp was a “city mouse,” as he says, with a small-animal practice when he purchased a country practice in Hillsboro, Ohio, a place where large animals would be a staple. So it is understandable that he encountered plenty of hairy and comical situations as he learned the ropes. Here, in 38 vignettes, all written with an easy hand (one can imagine him as a rather soothing soul, as comforting as an old pair of slippers) and without any straining at the lead, Sharp describes with equal poise the countryside around him—an atmospheric blend of stormy nights, dogwoods and redbuds, coffee cake and milk, farms tucked away in hollows—and the practice it demands: horse work, hog work, bull work, animals big enough to kill you. There are dicey situations, like the C-section he must administer on a cow, and there are faintly disgusting ones, like the decomposing fetus he extracts from another cow, a festering mass he must saw to pieces in utero, known as a bubbler in vet vernacular. There is a chauffeur-delivered cat, and there is the age-old conundrum, worthy of being a koan: “What do you do with a trapped skunk?” Sharp liberates a swan with its feet frozen into the ice, and he scratches his head in wonder at some of his clients: “I was still trying to understand the thinking process that tells you: Go ahead, stand behind a half-ton horse wearing steel shoes and cut his testicles off with a kitchen knife.” He doesn’t avoid the rare acts of cruelty he witnesses, but his work is much more likely to demonstrate an animal’s ability to provoke a human’s capacity for caring and affection.

Short, anecdotal material that animal-lovers can dip into with relish.

Pub Date: May 3, 2005

ISBN: 0-7867-1524-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2005

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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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