For unreconstructed rockers who long for pre–Eminem/Britney days.




Solid collection of rock writing from the mid-1960s through the ’90s, mostly by veteran scribes for magazines like Creem and New Musical Express.

Selected from the archives of, a Web site Hoskyns (Across the Great Divide, not reviewed) started to keep critically insightful rock writing accessible at a time when corporations “control and commodify rock rebellion,” these 30 contributions from mostly well-known figures like Greil Marcus, Paul Williams, Simon Frith, and Nick Hornby arguably provide a representative cross-section of the genre’s strengths. Some essays are built around interviews with significant figures like Neil Young, Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Ice Cube, and Bruce Springsteen (Jerry Gilbert’s astute 1974 piece captures the Boss forlornly straddling impoverishment and fame). The strongest work provides offbeat perspectives on various scenes, capturing vital moments in the sprawling narrative of rock’s development. These include Mick Farren’s humorous “Live From Nashville” (1976), which captures an uneasy “outlaw” South; Barry Miles’s poignant reminder of pre-AIDS downtown decadence, epitomized by the glammed-out New York Dolls; and Lenny Kaye’s hilarious account of Grand Funk Railroad’s sold-out Shea Stadium gig. Other notable entries include Steve Turner’s prescient look at the image-marketing behind David Bowie’s early rise, David Dalton’s chillingly precise eyewitness account of the fatal 1969 concert at Altamont, and Greg Shaw’s endearingly fuzzy attempt to lionize the Mods upon The Who’s release of Quadrophenia. Lesser contributions merely reflect cults of personality, as in a pallid Madonna interview by Glenn O’Brien (editor of her Sex book), Will Self’s unremarkable Morrissey portrait, and Charles Murray’s perfunctory account of Eric Clapton’s 1973 return to performance. Attention is predictably lavished on boomer rock of the ’60s and ’70s at the expense of the ’80s and ’90s; coverage of Nirvana and Lollapalooza notwithstanding, there is almost no acknowledgement of the post-Reagan rock underground. (See Michael Azzerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life, 2001, for that tale.)

For unreconstructed rockers who long for pre–Eminem/Britney days.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2003

ISBN: 1-58234-282-2

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2003

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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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