Useful as a textbook, the volume is a rewarding read for anyone who eats, cooks, or muses about food.

READ REVIEW

EATING WORDS

A NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF FOOD WRITING

A literary feast for foodies.

In this encyclopedic contribution to the burgeoning field of food studies, poet and literary scholar Gilbert (Emerita, English/Univ. of California, Davis; The Culinary Imagination: From Myth to Modernity, 2014, etc.) and restaurant critic Porter (English/Reed Coll.; Bureau of Missing Persons: Writing the Secret Lives of Fathers, 2011, etc.) bring together pieces by nearly 100 writers: poets, novelists, essayists, cooks, diners, and food critics. The population is diverse and the entries often witty, lively, and entertaining. Anton Chekhov, Seamus Heaney, and M.F.K. Fisher reflect on oysters; Louisa May Alcott, on the doomed project of Fruitlands, a utopian community whose founders—including her father—knew nothing about planting or harvesting and nearly starved themselves and their families. Proust recalls the madeleine; William Carlos Williams exults on plums; Calvin Trillin recounts his effort to lure his daughter from California to New York by promising her pumpernickel bagels. Restaurant critic Ruth Reichl (who also contributes the preface) calls her mother “The Queen of Mold” because she thought nothing about serving spoiled food to her family and guests. Erica Jong offers a sensuous meditation on the onion, and food writer Jeffrey Steingarten reveals his efforts to overcome his many food phobias, including kimchi, clams, and anything blue. One section focuses on the connection of food to identity, family, and ethnicity, with contributions from Ntozake Shange, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Maxine Hong Kingston, and Jhumpa Lahiri, among others. “Food Politics” includes entries by environmentalists Gary Snyder, Wendell Berry, and Barbara Kingsolver. Vegetarians defend their choices, as do carnivores and omnivores, and there are several exposés of bad practices (Upton Sinclair, Eric Schlosser). As in all Norton anthologies, entries are short, many edited from longer works; all have informative headnotes, and each section contains an introduction.

Useful as a textbook, the volume is a rewarding read for anyone who eats, cooks, or muses about food.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-393-23984-3

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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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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