For those swept along on the author’s culinary high, she has thoughtfully listed the many restaurants in New York, Brooklyn,...

BROOKLYN IN LOVE

A DELICIOUS MEMOIR OF FOOD, FAMILY, AND FINDING YOURSELF

In her second memoir, creative director and writer Thomas (Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate), 2012) chronicles her new life in Brooklyn.

Turning 40, falling in love, and becoming a mother are all life-changing events. The author recounts moments of her life as it veered from the freedoms of a single career woman in New York to a first-time mother in Brooklyn. If reading a step-by-step narrative of someone’s wedding sounds appealing, you will love Thomas’ breezy, whimsical style. Throughout the book, the author delights in long descriptions of food, many of which are excessive or unnecessary. For example, Thomas describes a culinary treat whipped up by a graduate of the French Culinary Institute: “After all, this is what she had been doing, eating, and dreaming about her whole life: whipping up crazy concoctions like crack pie, a densely sweet-and-salty pie that sits with an oat cookie crust, and compost cookies, which cram chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, pretzels, potato chips, and coffee grounds into one beautiful, buttery mass of goodness.” The author also runs down the benefits of breast-feeding and provides plenty of details about her burgeoning relationship with her future husband. In addition to the specifics about breast-feeding, new mothers may find Thomas’ list of the contents of her diaper bag to be helpful (she always packs an extra change of clothes in case of “explosive poops”). Unfortunately, too much of the narrative feels like a lightly edited diary, and cringeworthy moments abound—e.g., the book opens with, “in the fall of 2008, fate walked through my office door.”

For those swept along on the author’s culinary high, she has thoughtfully listed the many restaurants in New York, Brooklyn, and Paris mentioned in the text. Many readers, however, will find the overload of information too much.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4591-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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