A short memoir about a relationship, likely more helpful for the author than for readers.




Debut author Carter recalls the ups and downs of a promising romantic relationship that ended badly and the lessons she learned from the experience.

At age 35, Carter was ready for a serious relationship. After striking up a friendship with a man she worked with, she began dating him and was convinced she’d found the person she was supposed to be with forever. As the relationship wore on, however, it became clear that they wanted different things; after two years, he expressed no interest in getting married and was often emotionally distant. He and Carter tried couples counseling and were told that they would be better off apart. After taking a class on creative and personal growth, Carter finally found the strength to break up with him and move on with her life. The author’s honesty in revealing her own failings, along with her boyfriend’s, is admirable. But if the process of writing this memoir seems to have been cathartic, it contains very little advice that might be useful to the general reader. The last chapter, “The Lessons,” offers the author’s reflections on what she lost and gained in the relationship, but, like most of the chapters, it’s fewer than three pages long. Without more context, it’s hard to see why this relationship was so important to her. On the last page she notes, “As a child growing up in a physically and emotionally abusive house, the desire for being loved became my driving force.” This is the memoir’s first mention of abuse, and it may make readers wish she had included more information about her past. The memoir is formatted like a picture book, with colorful photographs of flowers throughout, but although the pictures are beautiful, they don’t add much to Carter’s story which, at just 23 pages long, might have been more effective as an essay.

A short memoir about a relationship, likely more helpful for the author than for readers.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-1452560465

Page Count: 30

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2013

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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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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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