THE BATHTUB HOAX

AND OTHER BLASTS AND BRAVOS FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

As introduced and edited by Robert McHugh, this collection of many shorter pieces present Mencken in the "role he liked best"- as a newspaperman- beginning with the featured, title piece which first appeared in the N.Y. Evening Mail in 1917. This "tissue of absurdities, all of them deliberate and most of them obvious" was written to test- and prove- his contention that the public is fatuously credulous. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the first bathtub installation in Cincinnati, Ohio (solid mahogany, lead lined, weight 1,750 pounds) it provides a history of the bathtub from medical resistance thereto to public acceptance thereof- and of course, an even greater public acceptance of the whole hoax that it was. In the other pieces which follow, topically arranged, Mencken is the aggressive advocate of free expression and other liberties (birth control; equality before the law; etc.); he is a critic-Poe, Dreiser, Mark Twain, Beethoven, and on more general phases of the arts; he is the serious thinker and skeptic- and many matters concern him- religion and ethics, politics and government, education and language; and the collection closes with some forays on marriage or the movies, peace, progress, even cooking.... Even while some of the material may seem dated, the Sage of Baltimore is still very much alive- and the practical validity of his judgments as well as the downright vitality of the man endure.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 0374955697

Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1958

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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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