With lively, colorful writing and inspired practical advice, this guide earns a spot along with Clark’s Writing Tools (2006)...

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THE ART OF X-RAY READING

HOW THE SECRETS OF 25 GREAT WORKS OF LITERATURE WILL IMPROVE YOUR WRITING

Just when you think Poynter Institute senior scholar Clark, who has written some of the best books on the writer’s craft, has covered everything related to the subject, he digs deep into literature and excavates a gold mine of artistic strategies for great writing.

While his last book, How to Write Short (2013), examined pithy prose in today’s ubiquitous media, this illuminating volume focuses on superb writing through the centuries. Readers may not consider the work of ancient poets Homer and Virgil as examples of cinematic writing, but these scribes, who zoom in and out of scenes with words, have a lot to teach us. Clark cites a passage from Virgil’s The Aeneid that describes a raging storm at sea, noting that centuries “before anyone dreamed of the aerial shot or…special effects…there was Virgil creating in language the vertiginous seascape of the drowning sailors.” Clark also has a flair for language as he describes one of Virgil’s “amazing” sentences as “coiling and uncoiling like the serpents it describes, directing our eyes back and forth, in and out, from the action of the serpents to the movements of the sea, then close enough to see eyes of blood and fire.” The Great Gatsby yields an intricately built architecture in which F. Scott Fitzgerald plants “strategic treasures”—words and images—at the end of his first chapter that are echoed in the luminous, oft-quoted last four paragraphs of the novel. Flannery O’Connor’s short stories, writes Clark, school us in the uses of foreboding and foreshadowing. Gustave Flaubert employed small gestures and domestic details to reveal Emma Bovary’s frame of mind. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer demonstrates poetic flow in his ecstatic descriptions of spring. Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye offers the lyrical use of repetition, not to be confused with redundancy.

With lively, colorful writing and inspired practical advice, this guide earns a spot along with Clark’s Writing Tools (2006) as essential reading for writers. Recommended for book lovers as well.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-28217-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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