Fans of Handler’s outrageous persona will find much to enjoy; the unconverted will remain so.



Further globe-trotting adventures of the scandalous talk show host.

TV host and author Handler (Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me, 2011, etc.) returns with another chronicle of bad behavior, this time focusing on her various fabulous vacations to such exotic destinations as Africa and Switzerland. Her shtick remains intact: an unapologetic stream of calculated outrageousness, including casual near-racism, abuse heaped on friends and family, overindulgence in various intoxicating substances, sexual frankness and scatological misadventure (“Mixing Metamucil with vodka will be successful in helping you go to the bathroom, but your timing should be strategic if staying with a friend. Once you clog someone’s toilet, they have a hard time remembering anything about you other than you clogging their toilet”). The results are fitfully funny, though the author’s grotesque sense of privilege and entitlement begins to grate; though this tone is certainly also part of Handler’s highly polished comic persona, readers not blessed with the TV star’s wealth and coterie of pampering enablers may begin to resent her petty complaints and blithe disregard for consequences. The bulk of the narrative concerns Handler’s safari expedition in Africa, and the author’s observations, when not actively offensive, are amusing. Handler is particularly adept at realizing her characters: Her traveling companions, safari guides and resort staffers emerge vividly drawn, and her ear for distinctive and telling dialogue is well-honed. She is less successful maintaining interest when going on about her dogs, a common pitfall of overly involved pet owners. The highlights of the book are a riotously funny set piece in which our heroine evacuates into her bathing suit while perilously far from appropriate restroom facilities and a reproduced email exchange between Handler and a pathetically delusional suitor. This material is by turns gross, mean and compulsively funny, which sums up the appeal of the book when Handler is on her game.

Fans of Handler’s outrageous persona will find much to enjoy; the unconverted will remain so.

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4555-9973-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: A Chelsea Handler Book/Borderline Amazing® Publishing/Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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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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