A substantive, reasonably candid memoir from the founder of Detroit's legendary Motown Records, creator of the soundtrack of the '60s. Gordy opens in 1988, as he agonizes over the sale of his independent company to conglomerate giant MCA, but quickly flashes back to the period everyone wants to read about: Motown's Golden Age, 19601970, when Gordy and his crack team of songwriters, producers, and studio musicians (many of them affectionately portrayed here) created a series of brilliant pop records—from ``My Girl'' to ``Where Did Our Love Go'' to ``I Heard It Through the Grapevine''—that made artists like the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, and the Jackson Five famous. Along the way, Motown's success completed the destruction of musical segregation that had begun with the rock and soul explosion of the early 1950s. `` `Pop' means popular,'' writes Gordy on the subject of categorizing art. ``I never gave a damn what else it was called.'' His solidly middle-class, high-achieving parents were remarkably patient with his long search for a career (he was 29 when he started Motown in 1959 with an $800 loan from the family credit union), and he warmly depicts them and his siblings, many of whom came to work at Motown. A fair amount of time is also devoted to his active love life; he had eight children with five different women, including one with Diana Ross, the supreme Supreme he calls ``my leading lady.'' Knowledgeable music fans will spot some selective recall on Gordy's part—he glosses over widespread resentment of Ross in particular—but for the most part he is frank about tensions within Motown and convincing in his rebuttal of charges that the company exploited its artists financially. His descriptions of the famous ``assembly-line'' process by which Motown crafted hits the way Detroit's auto companies cranked out cars shows the producers/songwriters as the primary artistic force behind the music. Nothing really new here, but a vivid recreation of a great period and a seminal company in popular music. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 1994

ISBN: 0-446-51523-X

Page Count: 384

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1994

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet