In the spirit of Anthony Bourdain but without the sensationalistic glitz.

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THE YEAR OF EATING DANGEROUSLY

A GLOBAL ADVENTURE IN SEARCH OF CULINARY EXTREMES

One gastronome’s worldwide pursuit of perfect—and perfectly awful—cuisine.

A veritable culinary Odysseus, food critic Bowles (E is for Eating: An Alphabet of Greed, 2004) set out from and returned to his native London to regale foodies and common omnivores alike with tales of exotic specimens from all ranges of the food spectrum. Over the course of “twelve months, four continents, 20,000 air miles and two inches on [his] waist,” he managed to shove a lot into his thrill-seeking maw. Yet his project was “not so much about picaresque derring-do (although there’s a little of that, albeit rather windy),” claims the author, “but a fascination with the world’s diverse cuisines.” As his adventure took shape, he “started to think about the relativity of dangerous foods, how one man’s pea is another man’s tripe,” and ended up concluding, “it’s our perception…that’s usually the biggest obstacle to trying new things, not the taste itself.” In some cases, however, as with the elvers (baby eels) of Gloucestershire or the gooseneck barnacles (percebes) dotting Spain’s Atlantic-pummeled coast, Bowles found that the harvesting of these unlikely delicacies could be as dangerous as consuming them. By and large, though, many of the foods he tasted—from Japan’s potentially lethal fugu (blowfish) to the merely unsavory silkworm pupae and posintang (dog soup) of Korea, to the bon waan (wood stew) of Laos and “bowel-shattering” American hot sauce—simply push the envelope of the Western palate and invite us to admire the author’s gastronomic courage. But while Bowles may fancy himself a professional eater with a penchant for risky man-food, he wins over his audience as a writer, describing dishes and sensations with the zeal of the recently famished, and his own hedonistic acts in delightful passages of unabashed bravado and self-deprecating humor.

In the spirit of Anthony Bourdain but without the sensationalistic glitz.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-312-37378-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2007

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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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