A treasure chest of images that coalesce into a distinct, original sense of place and time.

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AT THE EDGE OF IRELAND

SEASONS ON THE BEARA PENINSULA

Serendipitous Gaelic wanderlustings from the ever-peregrinating Yeadon (Seasons on Harris: A Year in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, 2006, etc.).

The author has hit upon a winning formula: Disappear somewhere, preferably a wild, back-of-beyond place, then spend a year charting its seasons and exercising a strong streak of inquisitiveness. The Beara Peninsula is tailor-made for such an endeavor. Poking into the Atlantic off Ireland’s Southwest coast, it is stubbornly, gloriously remote, a long way from the tourist buses clogging the Ring of Kerry, but riotously alive with history, powerful landscapes and curious characters. Yeadon is one of those travelers you have to admire. He’s not afraid to make a fool of himself to gain insight, nor to look around at horse-and-buggy speed. Nothing epitomizes his refusal to hurry more than his evocations of the art of the pour, described in yearning detail as he awaits a pint of the black in the many pubs he enters with wife Anne, who adds smart observations along the way. While the Celtic Tiger makes its dent in the global economy, the Beara steps to a relaxed beat. On its narrow, windy roads, the author notes, “we’d been told many drivers were unlicensed, uninsured, and far too often, unsober.” The residents—a critical mass of musicians, cheesemakers, cooks, artists, poets, fishermen, shepherds, healers and crazy sportsmen—indulge in the sport of hurling, “an ancient bogman’s game of pure unrestrained, skull-crushing passion.” Yeadon meets them all and captures them in robust illustrations as well as words. When he needs to provide historical background, he makes it into a story, coaxing readers to engage in Ireland’s furious past filled with class warfare, famines, enclosures and colonial perfidies. He’s at his best when taking in the lay of the land: glacier-gouged mountain passes, stone circles, black-water lakes, moors and peat bogs, hills “as rugged as a rhino’s carapace” and the strange, unrepentant weather that marks life on the western shore.

A treasure chest of images that coalesce into a distinct, original sense of place and time.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-115127-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2009

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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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