Also of interest ... manifestoes for moderation
Dirty, Sexy Politics by Meghan McCain; Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat by Hal Herzog; On Balance by Adam Phillips; The Glamour of Grammar by Roy Peter Clark
Dirty, Sexy Politics by Meghan McCain (Hyperion, $24)John McCain’s 25-year-old daughter is a rising star in the world of media and politics, said Liesl Schillinger in The New York Times. She has a blunt style that works well in her new memoir—which provides both an insider account of the 2008 presidential campaign and a “strongly worded” attack on “today’s moribund, inflexible Republican Party.” McCain wants to prod the GOP into becoming more moderate and inclusive, and she’s steadily building the audience that might help her do so.
Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat by Hal Herzog (HarperCollins, $26)In his cleverly titled new book, psychology professor Hal Herzog teases out inconsistencies in our attitudes toward animals, said Phillip Manning in the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer. After all, it makes little moral sense that 2 million chickens are slaughtered every day to feed America’s pet cats. Herzog’s point isn’t to expose us as hypocrites, though: Humans can’t arrive at a perfect ethic for animal treatment, he writes; contradictions are inevitable.
On Balance by Adam Phillips (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26)There’s no such thing as “excessive behavior” in Adam Phillips’ world, said Adam Kirsch in The Boston Globe. Phillips, a “highly regarded” psychotherapist, wants us to read all addictions, phobias, and fanatical beliefs as expressions of hidden but potentially knowable personal needs. The essays in this book “can best be understood as Freudian sermons.” Their purpose isn’t to promulgate cures, but to help us root out hidden desires and recognize that fulfilling them isn’t always possible.
The Glamour of Grammar by Roy Peter Clark (Little, Brown, $20)Be warned, all self-appointed police of “useless and unenforceable” grammar rules, said Ammon Shea in The New York Times. Book editor Roy Peter Clark has a usage manual for our time that “reserves its scolding” not for writers who start sentences with “And,” but for the “crotchety crowd” who’d forbid the practice. His guide won’t replace Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, but “it is a welcome addition to the bookshelf for anyone who cares about language.”