FEAR OF FIFTY

A half-century under her belt has not staled Jong's passion nor has painful controversy withered her talent for unflinching observation. This memoir is Jong's (The Devil at Large, 1993) meditation on what it all means for women encountering 50. ``We are the Whiplash Generation,'' she says, ``raised to be Doris Day...yearning to be Gloria Steinem, [and raising] our midlife daughters in the age of Nancy Reagan and Princess Di.'' Jong now has a husband (no. 4), a 14-year-old daughter, a mother and father, and a senile aunt for whom she is responsible. In chapters often fliply titled—``The Mad Lesbian in the Attic'' (about her aunt); ``Donna Juana Gets Smart'' (about loving ``bad boys'')— Jong ruminates eloquently and movingly on her roots (she's the granddaughter of Eastern European Jews and the privileged daughter of parents with frustrated callings to art and music), her flamboyant life (frequently played out in public since the appearance of Fear of Flying 21 years ago), and on being a woman in the '90s (``From the vantage point of fifty, the discriminatory cycle is utterly clear...we know we have reasons for despair''). The Erica Jong of the irrepressible libido and the Anglo-Saxon vocabulary is here. But a mellower Jong mocks her own infatuation with Literature with a capital ``L,'' regrets the messiness of her divorce from Jonathan Fast (the father of her daughter), and delves into her Jewishness, spirituality, love, and work. A chapter titled ``Men Are Not the Problem'' ponders the cruelty of women to one another. Reflecting bitterness-turned-to- puzzlement about the antagonism many feminists have felt to her work, she argues that women who demand political correctness- -whatever that may be in a given year—perpetuate separatism and sexism. With a quotable line on almost every page, Jong's story is more than flash and fire—there's poetry and wisdom, too. (First serial to Parade and Cosmopolitan; Literary Guild selection; $130,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-017739-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

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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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