An offbeat, unconventional, and imaginative exploration of the human race.

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THE ART OF HUNTING HUMANS

A RADICAL AND CONFRONTING EXPLANATION OF THE HUMAN MIND

A work with a preposterous premise offers a look at humans.

What if an alien were to write a manual that instructs compatriots how to “hunt a human”? This fantastical, fictional concept forms the basis of a story by Mazzi (Tainted by Fire, 2016), who maintains the charade until the very last page, wherein he reveals his rationale for writing the book. This is the kind of creative exercise that is likely to split its audience; some will be taken with the prose and play along while others will dismiss it as nonsense. The objective, though, is to expose the many foibles humans share and assess them as if viewed through an alien lens. The introductory chapter sets up the strangely insightful volume nicely by summarizing “some of the weaknesses” of humans that “we will explore.” These include emotions, fear, vanity, and widespread ignorance. The six short parts of the work provide an intriguing take on what generally makes humans tick. The titles of the parts, such as “DIGGING DEEPER INTO YOUR PREY’S REALITY” and “WHAT DRIVES THE ANIMAL,” are clearly constructed to reinforce the text of the simulated guide. The content is cleverly written, if forced at times, describing elements of humanity like language (“Just a system of codes and symbols that are ripe for misinterpretation”), critical thinking (“It’s the emotions inside their heads that matter to humans”), and feelings (“Humans can suffer and feel better—they can take pleasure from sacrifice”). The most intriguing aspect of the book is the way the alien observes human behavior, as if it is being evaluated from an outsider’s perspective. This can be amusing, disconcerting, perceptive, or bizarre depending on how readers process the material. If nothing else, it is an exercise that serves to point out the absurdities of the species. At the end, the author explains that his purpose for the novel format “is to raise attention to the importance of self-reflection and the pursuit of wisdom.” Hopefully, those who plow through this unusual work will be enlightened—or perhaps chagrined.

An offbeat, unconventional, and imaginative exploration of the human race.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-79196-075-9

Page Count: 221

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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