A TERRIBLE LIAR

A MEMOIR

Intelligent, candid, humorously self-deprecating: the memoirs (only up to 1965, alas) of an actor's actor on stage and screen— who also turns out to be a stylish raconteur, an intrepid adventurer, and a sometime producer/writer...as well as, of course, the longtime husband/partner of Oscar-winner Jessica Tandy. Cronyn's early years are surprisingly dramatic: shocking his upper-crust family by dropping out of college for acting; contracting VD at a brothel; entering a brief, secret marriage with a young actress from a rich (and strange) Georgia family. And his career, though not flashy, has involved the choicest colleagues. In the 30's there was a big break from George Abbott, a useful put- down from Clifford Odets. In the 40's came film work with Spencer Tracy (touchingly boosted by K. Hepburn), the great Hitchcock, the insufferable Tallulah. Later on there was lots of TV (with self- indulgent James Dean and no-nonsense Olivier, among others), lots of Broadway (one juicy episode involves a drunken Jason Robards, a furious Lauren Bacall), the joyful inauguration of the Tyrone Guthrie Rep—and the hilarious tedium of shooting Cleopatra, with Cronyn a prime confidant in the Burton/Taylor scandale. And, always, there's the fine, flinty Jessica—wooing her, touring with her (sometimes on a shoestring), raising kids, buying a tiny Caribbean island. Serious about acting and scripts, wry and rueful about everything else: a first-flight theatrical autobiography, unpretentiously anecdotal and immensely likable but never merely charming and chatty.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 1991

ISBN: 0-688-10080-5

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1991

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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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