Vicarious pleasure for anyone who loves hearing about a great find.

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ALLIGATORS, OLD MINK AND NEW MONEY

ONE WOMAN’S ADVENTURE IN VINTAGE CLOTHING

A latter-day Secondhand Rose shares stories of her vintage clothing shop, her best finds and her family history in a memoir that shines with pure likeability.

The story is Alison’s, though she penned it with sister Melissa. A pretty girl who's darn nice, too, Alison’s first career was as a haute couture model in Europe and New York. Ten years passed happily and lucratively, but like most fashion models, she eventually had to find a second vocation. Here, she relates the story of round two. Her boutique, Hooti Couture, began on a lark as a partnership with a friend. The friend is gone, but the store remains, a repository of treasures dug up on scouting expeditions to estate sales and country auctions. Alison was bred for this game; her mother combed the Salvation Army store racks for “good” labels. Now she can spot a muddy old dress and know instinctively that after a little Woolite and some new buttons, it will go in the shop window and sell in hours. This determined optimism is paired with a gift for promotion, endowing Alison’s finds with a seductive, nobody-else-will-have-one patina. She extends this rosy vision to her neighborhood as well, frequently touting her Brooklyn home’s myriad charms. (Readers will not be surprised to learn that she is vice president of the North Flatbush Improvement District.) The relentless cheeriness is saved from being cloying by Alison’s frank assessment of her failures in romance and business, although she can’t ever be kept down for long. It’s a tell-all of a different sort; the intimate details of her relationships are left vague, but the strap of a handbag is analyzed with precision.

Vicarious pleasure for anyone who loves hearing about a great find.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-078667-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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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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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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