In the case of these scripts, Hollywood was right.

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HOLLYWOOD SAID NO!

ORPHANED FILM SCRIPTS, BASTARD SCENES, AND ABANDONED DARLINGS FROM THE CREATORS OF MR. SHOW

This collection extends the publishing concept of “cleaning out the closet” to the extreme.

The target readership for this book would seem to be small but specific: comedy cultists and Mr. Show completists. The series ran for four years on HBO during the mid-1990s, and both of the co-authors have earned higher-profile TV credits in the 15 years since (Cross with Arrested Development and Odenkirk with Breaking Bad). If there was ever a time when Mr. Show might have spawned some movies, the market for those has long since dissipated. The former dates from 1998 and offers broad political satire on the corporate co-opting of the presidency and the development of the ultimate gated community: a new planet restricted to the rich people who have plundered the Earth. One bit features Abraham Lincoln as a gangsta rapper: “Damn it’s me G. A.B.E. to the L.I.N.C. Doin’ a drive-by on slizzavery.” The latter (which opens the book, though it was written in 2003) is a series of sketches loosely connected by the concept of two comedians trying to get their movie made. The funniest one concerns “Noodlefest,” a Woodstock for jam bands, which features only one band playing one interminable song and reaches a state of medical emergency by boring its attendees to death. “This marries our hatred of jam bands with our detestation of sleazy Hollywood producers,” the authors explain in a postscript annotation that further pads the volume.

In the case of these scripts, Hollywood was right.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4555-2630-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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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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