ON ISLAND TIME

Perky, abbreviated noodlings on the wonders of island life add up to a short (mostly natural) history of a small place. Stewart has written and illustrated several books on native cultures of the Pacific Northwest. When she decides to build her long-sought dream house, she lights on Quadra, a small island off British Columbia. There she quickly jumps into island culture, signing up for natural history field trips and joining a fetching ritual whereby residents gather on a beach with percussion instruments and “drum up” the full moon. Although she ponders the usual generic island features—the ferry connection, the insular winters—as well as those distinct to Quadra, nature interests her more than the island’s social order. Stewart melds well with islanders (though admittedly, after decades she’s still an outsider), but her relationship with the natural world seems a bit more problematic. She’s hardly an enlightened naturalist, since she constantly interferes with nature. Finding a gang of robins harassing a lone crow (suspected of raiding the robins’ nests for eggs), she intervenes on the crow’s behalf. She does the same for a raccoon hassled by a murder of crows. She also feeds deer, pilfers wildflower seeds, and goes to great lengths to landscape her property, digging up numerous ferns and even trucking in boulders for a rock sculpture. Despite her tendency to impose a fussy, tidy aesthetic on her little piece of wilderness (she insists on clearing “unkempt” areas), she appreciates the natural bounty on her small island and probably gives back more than she takes. The constant attention to her own nest-feathering may strike some as ostentatious, and it makes one wonder if she’s related to that more famous Stewart, Martha. Stewart’s successful embrace of island life is a good primer for anyone wanting to know the upside of a move to the country. (150 illustrations)

Pub Date: July 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-295-07710-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Univ. of Washington

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1998

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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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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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