A witty, compassionate read from a thoughtful author.




A mature, thoughtful perspective on American warfare in the 21st century and a detailed explanation of the advantages and drawbacks of Transcendental Meditation.

The bulk of this nonfiction work is constructed from a series of emails that Rees, a physician and now-retired Army colonel, sent home during his numerous deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan over a decade. Filled with personal observations and details of his day-to-day life as a senior medical officer, they present a picture of military life that’s more prosaic than those seen in popular media but no less purposeful or dangerous. In the latter half of the book, Rees offers a handful of chapters on Transcendental Meditation, which he’s practiced since the 1970s, including a paper he submitted to the War College on the potential benefits of TM in war zones and for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. If Rees’ work has a flaw, it’s in how these vastly different sections intertwine and attempt to merge; they seem to be two different books under one title, although the author works hard to highlight the connections between the two and give them a unified purpose. Some readers may not mind the bifurcation, though, as Rees is an immensely engaging writer whose wit and thoughtfulness shine through on every page. Whether he’s comparing a military briefing to a scene from the 1960 film The Time Machine or discussing the results of a literature review on TM, he writes with care and logic, presenting his arguments and counterarguments with an evenhandedness and rounded perspective that’s refreshing, particularly for readers used to polarized political discourse. Indeed, every page shines with compassion and humor. If readers can get past the disconnect of the book’s two halves, they’ll find a great deal of engaging reading material here.

A witty, compassionate read from a thoughtful author.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9962779-1-4

Page Count: 486

Publisher: Manu Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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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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