An ambitious, often engaging set of conversations with women around the world.

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50ISH

A JOURNEY TO 50 COUNTRIES IN 50 WEEKS INTERVIEWING WOMEN IN THEIR 50S

A travel memoir describing one woman’s international trip to interview women who are around 50 years old.

Lynch (I’m Bored, 1992) traveled the world with a goal of interviewing 50 women in 50 countries, all 50-ish in age. Her quest was brought on by the death of her mother shortly following Lynch’s own 50th birthday. She asked each woman she met the same set of questions about different aspects of their lives, including their children and parents, education and even menopause (when cultural norms allowed it). In the author’s native Canada, the United States, Morocco, Vietnam and elsewhere, many women answered her final question (“Are you happy?”) with “Yes.” In Vietnam, she interviewed Sach, a 48-year-old woman who owned a small outdoor restaurant: “Here is a woman who has lived through a war, lost her father, had her husband leave her with a newborn and two other children, works sixteen hours a day, and is still happy. I told her she should be an inspirational speaker.” A trend of happy, ambitious and proud women emerges although Lynch doesn’t analyze this fact, except to say that she was humbled to have met each of her subjects. The author didn’t secure an interview in every country she visited, but when she did, it helped her to go beyond a tourist’s experience to see the real lives of local women. The author’s accounts of her sightseeing can often feel like a drawn-out itinerary, but her interview subjects often offer compelling information about their respective countries’ history, culture and people.

An ambitious, often engaging set of conversations with women around the world.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-1453658154

Page Count: 350

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2014

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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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