An accessible, universal, heartbreaking, and gut-wrenching AIDS chronicle.

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NURSES ON THE INSIDE

STORIES OF THE HIV/AIDS EPIDEMIC IN NYC

In this debut book, two nurses show how the advent of the HIV infection permanently altered a vulnerable minority and the boundaries of global health care.

Based on actual events in their lives, career clinicians Matzer and Hughes begin their intensive, exquisitely moving narrative at the end of the 1970s in a Manhattan hospital where rapid-onset, opportunistic infections like pneumocystis carinii pneumonia first began immobilizing gay men at alarming rates. From the first hints of a “Gay Cancer” to future milestones in disease developments and pharmaceutical intervention, the authors diligently and compassionately narrate firsthand how a community joined together throughout the ’80s and ’90s to care for the dying, to inspire solidarity through candlelight vigils, to extinguish stigma and shame, and to fight for the right to die with dignity. With seamless ease, the book’s timeline smoothly oscillates back and forth from Matzer’s and Hughes’ historical trajectories through their grueling nursing school years into their close friendship and essential work with AIDS patients. Supplementing this poignant chronicle are reflections from both authors on the positive and negative aspects of that indelible era. As an open lesbian who was closeted when the epidemic began, Hughes remarks that she used to view the entire period of death and disease “through my identity as a gay woman, but lately, I think I have viewed it as a New Yorker. I felt that way especially after 9/11.” For lay readers, clinical footnotes are sprinkled throughout, offering explanations and specific terminology on disease symptoms and medical procedures. Structured in an intensely personalized manner with heartfelt prose and intimate, exacting details, the work ushers readers right into the authors’ AIDS ward, where sick men and women lay dying, at the mercy of homophobia and cruel bias, as disease researchers rushed to demystify and mitigate the medical carnage while perplexed politicians vacillated. The book is also a touching tribute to the resilience of a community; its unified, unconditional allies; and the human kindness that continues to interconnect everyone in times of horrific atrocities. “Despite all the bullshit that happens,” Matzer declares, “most of us come together when we need to.”        

An accessible, universal, heartbreaking, and gut-wrenching AIDS chronicle.

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-951072-01-8

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Tree District Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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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