A LITTLE ORDER

SELECTED JOURNALISM

A small, judicious selection of Waugh's journalistic pieces, 1917-1964—only a pendant to the recently-published diaries and letters, perhaps, but a display of the author's range without his excesses. Under "Myself" are the youthful, impudent pieces (mocking "the plague of 'good taste,'" satirizing the course of literary careers—but asking, already, "Why Glorify Youth?") and the late laments ("Why Hollywood Is a Term of Disparagement," "I See Nothing But Boredom. . . Everywhere"). The "Aesthete" brings some of Waugh's keenest observation—of social and cultural modes—and his most evocative descriptions; surveying the monuments of "our Augustan age of architecture," he conjures up "A lovely house where an aged colonel plays wireless music to an obese retriever." The "Man of Letters" finds him analyzing Henry Green's Living, paying witty tribute to Osbert Sitwell, celebrating the "unique" career of Alfred Duggar, and writing about Max Beerbohm with elegance and tact. The pieces that represent Waugh the "Conservative" demonstrate his perturbations—a denunciation of a visit by Tito, the observation that "In general a man is best fitted to the tasks he has seen his father perform"—without bombast. And Gallagher's introduction to the "Catholic" writings puts Waugh's Faith in sympathetic perspective—as do the writings chosen: "Come Inside," his own undogmatic account of how he became a Catholic; "Edith Stein," a meticulous, restrained account of a convert. Throughout, there is evidence of Waugh's sense of structure and awareness of style, his enthusiasms as well as his prejudices. Whereas the diaries and letters may put off readers, this is more likely to encourage them to explore further.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 1980

ISBN: 0141182938

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1980

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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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