A small Italian village’s secret to the Fountain of Youth. 

Deep in the heart of the Aurunci range on the shores of central Italy lies a village where the average life expectancy for both men and women is 95, earning it the sobriquet Il Paese dell’Eterna Giovinezza (The Village of Eternal Youth). This fact caught the attention of British journalist Lawson, who traveled to Campodimele to investigate the phenomenon. “I came to Campodimele hoping I might learn how to live longer, but discovered something much more important—how to live well,” she writes. The author’s lighthearted mix of recipes and anecdotes are written with delicate prose that pays homage to the area’s lifestyle and emphasizes the value of subtleties attributed to the residents’ longevity. Lawson divides the sections by month, focusing on what the seasonal harvest brings—snails, wild boar, asparagus and more. Lawson observes that Italians don’t “need an official call to celebrate. A new crop is a chance to invite your neighbors for lunch and enjoy the first fava beans of the year; a sunny day is an excuse for a walk in the mountains and meat grilled over an open wood fire; the start of the hunting season is the moment to gather friends for dinner to share your first kill of the year.” It’s an ideology she soon embraced. The author’s account of a year in Campodimele doesn’t burden readers with scientific information involving genetics, environment and diet. Rather, it captures the essence of everyday life. Delightfully transports readers into the kitchens and the spirits of the villagers’ longstanding customs.


Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59691-502-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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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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