An anthology containing some of the most amusing, insightful, and moving sports writing from the past year. Sure, series editor Stout and guest editor Boswell (Cracking the Show, p. 294) might not have extended their search to every hamlet with a sports page, as the preponderance of Sports Illustrated and New Yorker pieces clearly indicates. However, the fact that nearly all of the submissions faithfully depict athletes and their exploits as part of a grander choreography clearly establishes that many of the authors included are famous (or infamous) for good reason. Among the best entries are Bruce Buschel's ``Lips Get Smacked,'' a profane, Runyonesque trip to an Atlantic City casino with Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra (``Watching Lenny Dykstra gamble is like having an orchestra seat at a one-character David Mamet tragicomic- psychodrama. You are appalled and delighted by the language and the largesse''); Davis Miller's ``The Zen of Muhammad Ali,'' a touching portrait of The Champ battling the march of time and Parkinson's Syndrome—possibly the result of taking too many punches—with a generosity and dignity that fans seldom attribute to sports heroes; and Frank Deford's ``Running Man,'' an examination of the far- reaching effect of Phil Knight and his $3.7 billion sneaker-making, sports-marketing, and entertainment colossus, Nike. Nearly all the selections display uncanny wit and flourish, and these writers have the imagination to shun the obvious ``feet of clay'' athlete profiles to deliver realistic, humane portraits of people who, like many of us, have either risen to face life's adversity or turned tail and fled. Not just the best sports writing, some of the best writing anywhere. Period.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 1994

ISBN: 0-395-63326-5

Page Count: 303

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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.


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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