An unorthodox travelogue—uneven in places but packed with illuminating, gritty detail.

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THE BLACK NILE

ONE MAN’S AMAZING JOURNEY THROUGH PEACE AND WAR ON THE WORLD’S LONGEST RIVER

An American journalist’s intrepid adventure on the legendary Nile.

Tired of piecemeal journalism work from a “fast-shrinking roster of newspapers and magazines,” Morrison empowered himself by taking a perilous 4,000-mile journey from Lake Victoria to Rosetta, Egypt, by various means of transportation. The trip was broken up over the course of six months because of visa restrictions between warring north and south Sudan. At first the author was to be accompanied by his best friend from North Carolina, Schon, who joined him in Kampala, Uganda, and helped secure the building of their paddle boat. They finally got going from Jinja after weeks of idleness. By the time they reached Juba, Schon was out of vacation time and had to return home. Morrison resumed his travels alone, jumping from one political hotspot to another thanks to the kindness of strangers, such as a motley assortment of Western aid workers and good Samaritans on a humanitarian barge, where he learned about the ongoing tribal travails between the cattle-herding Nuer and Dinka peoples. Through the swamps of the Sudd he reached oil-rich Malakal, riven by gunmen and malarial microbes, but he was confounded by visa restrictions and flew back to Cairo. Months later, finding himself again marooned in rainy Malakal, “without luck and without connection,” he cobbled together enough transports to reach Kosti and then Khartoum, where the White Nile merges magnificently with the Blue Nile. The trip to the engineering marvel of the Aswan High Dam forms the narrative climax, but the last stint into upper Egypt is rather skimpy.

An unorthodox travelogue—uneven in places but packed with illuminating, gritty detail.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-670-02198-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2010

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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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