Syndicated columnist and clowning Pulitzer-nik Barry (Dave Barry in Cyberspace, 1996, etc.) is back with another series of columns, regular as an equinox and admittedly starting to strain for a decent title (``A lot of the really good ones are taken. Thin Thighs in 30 Days, for example. Also The Bible''). As any certified funster must, Barry zeroes in on little events of daily life, such quotidian subjects as lawyers, doctors, aging, marriage, Thanksgiving, O.J. Simpson, and splashing around with US Synchronized Swimming National Team One. He may be getting a little weak in the memory department. ``To be honest,'' he admits, ``I had completely forgotten that in a former life I was Mozart,'' and he's concerned about the effects of his OMBS (``Older Male Brain Shrinkage''). There are, indeed, signs of maturity: ``Booger'' jokes are scarce; they're replaced by ``poop'' jokes. Exploding toilets are covered, too. Barry expends precious shrinking brain power in rearranging the letters of proper names: Winston Churchill can yield ``Hurls Cow Chin Lint,'' he tells us. (He may be pleased to learn that his own name can be rearranged to ``Verry Baad,'' which has kind of rap flavor.) Alert readers supply him with prime fodder from diverse new sources so that he gets to label riffs with his favorite tag line, ``I am not making this up,'' and advance them with the rim shot, ``No, seriously, folks.'' They aren't seamless and certainly not weighty, but Barry's concoctions still deliver. As he says about a completely different subject (bug brains, if you must know), his humor ``is not as simple as we thought it was before we started to think about it.'' Barry remains a formidable practitioner of journalistic silliness. ``Ha!'' some readers may say. Some, differing, may retort, ``Ha ha!'' Others may simply laugh. (photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-609-60066-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1997

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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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