THE MEADOW

A passionate hundred-year history of a small mountain ranch on the Colorado-Wyoming border. Galvin (Writing/Univ. of Iowa) was raised and still lives for part of each year in Tie Siding, Wyoming. Here, he tells of the lives of his neighbors and of the successive owners of a ranch consisting in the main of a 360-acre hay meadow. Galvin's annals are comprised of one hundred very brief vignettes, remarkable for their sympathetic portrayals of these men and women and their Antaeus-like symbiosis with the beautiful but unforgiving land. Cutting back and forth in time, the author tells of Appleton (``App'') Worster, who homesteaded the meadow in 1895, raising three boys but losing two wives and finally the farm itself in 1938. App was buried on a ridge where his sons had to use drills and dynamite to dig his grave. Galvin also writes of App's son Ray, who, while logging at age 12 with his brothers and father, saw a man fishing and was struck dumb by astonishment—it was the first time Ray had ever seen someone he didn't know. And then there's the meadow's present owner, Lyle, slowly drowning in emphysema and condemned to sitting by himself and gazing at the log buildings he made by hand and at the meadow where he cut timothy grass for 40 years. Galvin's montage engages through its multiple views, but just as often it perplexes: The funeral of a man is described, but then the man reappears and dies only later in the book; and the relationships between some of the principal characters prove a formidable puzzle, at least at first. Still, Galvin's progressive deepening and widening of his story, and his comely prose, more than compensate. Close-ups of seldom-seen bedrock people of the American West, adroitly drawn and deeply felt.

Pub Date: April 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-8050-1684-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1992

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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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