For all its ugly truths, a well-mulled compilation. Only born outlaws will be drawn to the motorcycle life by these...

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SHE’S A BAD MOTORCYCLE

WRITERS ON RIDING

Journalist and motorcycle aficionado Zanetti has assembled a heady collection that strikes every imaginable pose in its celebration of the motorcycle, that transport to lawlessness and freewheeling.

Once the exhaust fumes of this collection have cleared, the motorcycle’s bad-boy reputation will remain intact. Some of the 29 contributors are bike fans pure and simple, like Fred Haefele and his Indians. A couple of others—Tom McGuane and his Matchless 500, Rachel Kushner and her maniac stem-to-stern Baha race—have brief flings. Robert Pirsig indulges in pre-Socratic ruminations over his beefy machine. But it is the outlaw—from Hell’s Angels, Satan’s Slaves, Coffin Cheaters, Pagans (“Hairy, bearded, swastika toting sixties style outlaws . . . hicksters and Southrons”)—who holds the spotlight here. He might be one of the boys himself, like Sonny Barger, Hell’s Angels’ leader, who notes that his first machine was a Cushman scooter—a disturbing image, though he probably wasn’t wearing a sawed-off denim jacket at 13—or the truly scary Frank Reynolds, who blithely goes on about raping women. Or he could be one of a number of writers, from Tom Wolfe, who describes a crazywild collision between the Merry Pranksters and the Hell’s Angels, to Hunter S. Thompson, who comes across in an excerpt from Life Styles (much of this material is culled from elsewhere) as badder than the bad guys, hungry for something sick and violent: “I wasn’t particularly opposed to the idea of a riot, but I didn’t want it to happen right then, and with my car in the middle.”

For all its ugly truths, a well-mulled compilation. Only born outlaws will be drawn to the motorcycle life by these writings; a brief sojourn among the bikers, and then only a careful selection of them, will be enough for most.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56025-317-7

Page Count: 326

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2001

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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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