Easy-to-read, balanced introduction to American civics.




Cupples (co-author: Grammar, Punctuation, and Style, 2013) provides a straightforward, user-friendly guide to the American political system with an emphasis on how the average citizen can get involved.

Cupples’ guide comprises three sections. First, the author focuses on the source of citizens’ rights and duties, namely the Constitution and the laws that are enacted by federal, state, and local governments. Second, she explores the three branches of federal government (executive, legislative, and judicial), how they interact, and how they affect American citizens. Third, she explores outside influences on government, such as lobbying and the media, and covers ways citizens can participate in the lawmaking process. Cupples eschews stodgy descriptions of the governing process. In discussing the overall maturity of the Senate compared with the House, she notes, “That doesn’t mean the Senate is always like the Dalai Lama or Yoda.” She goes on to refer to the speaker of the House as its “head honcho.” She also finds ways to make certain her text does not become boring, inserting theoretical situations that may surprise the casual reader (in discussing the Sixth Amendment and problems with state-appointed counsel, she asks, “What about a lawyer who slams vodka shots before trial?”) Cupples’ work is also very much geared toward the modern world of connectivity. Throughout, she suggests websites (such as for each executive branch department) and internet search terms for seeking out answers to policy questions or the validity of news stories (e.g., “To find your county election office, search online for ‘election office’ + your county + your state”). She is admirably nonpartisan throughout her work, focusing instead on the facts of American government with little regard for party.

Easy-to-read, balanced introduction to American civics.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9996777-0-4

Page Count: 186

Publisher: Delfinium, LLC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet