A penetrating, droll embrace of an Ireland in the midst of tumult.

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IRELAND UNHINGED

ENCOUNTERS WITH A WILDLY CHANGING COUNTRY

A sometimes happy, sometimes blue story of how a transplanted American family experienced Ireland during the past decade.

Monagan (Jaywalking with the Irish, 2004) spent a year in Dublin in the early ’70s and was taken by the vividness of life in Ireland. In 2000, he and his family moved from their home in Connecticut to Cork, amid the country’s spectacular economic boom. Here the author looks back at the decade and the efforts he made to rediscover the “improvisational, wickedly fresh, and so very human” Ireland he knew. The process was a rediscovery because so much of what seemingly made Ireland special had been lost in the vulgar maw of the boom, “a litany of runaway materialism, instant gratification, increasing hooliganism, and excess of every stripe.” Though certainly there is much left standing in Ireland—the loss of rural pubs, however, is alarming—Monagan was blessed to find a little slice of Old Ireland he could afford. The author and his family purchased a house along the Blackwater River, in Ballyduff, full of gardens and sky, rolling hills and forest and warm, welcoming neighbors. Writing with an unhurried and considered hand, his wryness evident but checked by a brooding malaise, Monagan visits with landscapes both sullied and unsullied, in search of Ireland’s many silver tongues. There are great bar-side chats with anonymous pubsters, as well as a wonderfully anecdote-strewn day with author J.P. Donleavy.

A penetrating, droll embrace of an Ireland in the midst of tumult.

Pub Date: March 17, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-57178-252-6

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Council Oak

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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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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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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