REMEDIOS

STORIES OF EARTH AND IRON FROM THE HISTORY OF PUERTORRIQUE§AS

A confusing array of snapshots of women from the history of the Western hemisphere. Morales (who has taught Jewish studies and women’s studies at the Univ. of Calif., Berkeley) wants to make the point that Puerto Rican women descend from many diverse cultures, and so she rightly includes stories here from West Africa, various parts of Mexico, and even Native American tribes, as well as Spain. But some of the inclusions really stretch the imagination (Ethel Rosenberg as an ancestress of Puerto Rican women?). Also, Morales includes very little about contemporary Puerto Rican women themselves, except to tell us in the introduction that they “have always held up four-fifths of the sky.” The entire book is a chronological leap through 200,000 years of cross-cultural women’s history. It is imaginatively organized, however, beginning with bisabuelas (great-grandmothers) and ending with the author’s birth in 1954. Morales incorporates sidebars on assorted healing herbs and plants (shades of Like Water for Chocolate) into this ostensible healing history. Some of the profiles are illuminating and fresh. We learn of the many women in conquistador Hern†n CortÇs’s life, including his ill-fated first wife, whom he probably killed, his well-connected second wife, and his captured mistress. Another vignette examines Sister Juana de Asbaje, who in 1693 wrote “the first feminist essay published in the Americas.” In the 1820s, French-Peruvian noblewoman Flora Tristan was similarly inspired by feminism, embracing socialism and traveling the world. Despite these standouts, Morales’s impressionistic glances at various women lack cohesiveness. She also tends to romanticize their contributions: St. Teresa of Avila, who cursed herself for being born a woman, is here lauded for her courageous, mystical feminism. The reality of Teresa’s life was far more complicated. Intriguing tidbits throughout make the book worth reading, but the parts are stronger than the whole.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1998

ISBN: 0-8070-6516-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998

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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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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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