THE DIARY OF C.S. LEWIS, 1922-1927

Lewis's private account of his undergraduate years at Oxford, edited and introduced by his literary executor and former personal secretary. In 1922, Lewis was completing his studies of philosophy and the classics at University College, Oxford, and looking for some means of advancement in the academic world. Still an atheist, he had already fought as an infantry officer in France and established a reputation as a scholar of great promise. His diary records all the usual routines of a man in his situation—notations on books, debates with tutors and classmates, examinations—set against the backdrop of a domestic life shared with Janie King Moore, his companion and (probable) lover. Some 30 years his senior, Moore was the mother of one of Lewis's classmates who had been killed in the war. Lewis kept his relations with her secret from his family and colleagues (possibly out of a fear of blackmail from her estranged husband), and they lived precariously on his student allowance, moving frequently from house to house as their money gave out. In 1925, Lewis was elected a Fellow of Magdalen College. This confirmed his academic status and eased his finances, but his career was still far from assured, and the picture that emerges from his journals is one of great uncertainty tempered by youthful optimism. Always gregarious, Lewis had already formed a large circle of friends, who are portrayed vividly and effectively throughout. Editor Hooper organizes his material admirably, supplying annotations and several pages of biographical outlines, as well as a brief and readable introduction. Despite the omissions (about a third of the manuscript was cut), the narrative is smooth and comprehensible. An agreeable depiction of a writer's private life, but limited in scope. Essential reading for Lewis fans, it may strike the general reader as too parochial.

Pub Date: July 22, 1991

ISBN: 0156046431

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

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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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