FORTY DAYS

An affecting first-person account of the ordeal endured by one of the most celebrated casualties of the Persian Gulf War. Five days after Desert Shield became Desert Storm, Simon (CBS- TV's chief Mideast correspondent) and his three-man crew were taken captive by an Iraqi patrol on the wrong side of the unmarked Saudi Arabia/Kuwait border, where they had driven in search of news not screened by military censors. The author's ill-advised enterprise earned him and his associates a hellish 40-day hegira that took them from field detention to a couple of stygian lockups in Baghdad, one of which was bombed by the allied coalition. Constantly blindfolded, beaten, and branded a spy, Simon lived in fear that Saddam's interrogators would discover he was a Bronx-born Jew based in Tel Aviv, not a Protestant working out of N.Y.C. as his press credentials stated. To keep his sanity as a no-name prisoner in solitary confinement, Simon reflected on past assignments (which had taken him to Lebanon, the Philippines, Vietnam, and other strife-torn venues), friends, family, colleagues, and food, albeit not necessarily in that order. Though he considered suicide only once, early in his Kafkaesque trial, the author was ever drawn to dwell on death. Once released, Simon appreciated the irony of a journalist's being the subject of a major media story and of his own obituary (providently prepared by CBS and narrated by Dan Rather). Recalled with less relish, though, are the deep emotional wounds and nagging physical debilities he suffered while in Iraqi hands. The involving testament of a man who's been to the brink and learned that the abyss does indeed stare back.

Pub Date: May 4, 1992

ISBN: 0-399-13760-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

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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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