Though the World Trade Center makes only a cameo appearance here, Sanders’s valentine to New York provides a tonic reminder...

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CELLULOID SKYLINE

NEW YORK AND THE MOVIES

Architect Sanders, who collaborated with documentarist Ric Burns on New York: An Illustrated History (not reviewed), goes solo with this opulent tribute to Hollywood’s Big Apple.

New York, he notes, has always been incontestably “the city for Hollywood.” Yet although film production began in Astoria and Menlo Park at the turn of the last century, it was not until the 1930s, when the talkies drew Gotham writers by the score to a California diaspora, that the absent city began to assume the glamorously mythic proportions that have alternated ever since with demythologizing reports from its lower depths as location shooting has periodically returned (following the 1948 success of The Naked City) and receded (in the wake of a 1990 studio boycott of union rules and pay scales). Sanders’s true subject, in fact, is the dialectic of realism and fantasy in the creation of Hollywood’s New York. Leaping as agilely as King Kong from Metropolis to Dead End, from Holiday to Smoke, from Rear Window (“the most sophisticated and complex exploration of the movie city”) to On the Waterfront (“the most ambitious attempt ever to orchestrate the elements of an urban locale into a unified filmic setting”), and among the four filmmakers most closely associated with New York—Sidney Lumet, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, and Spike Lee—he observes that identifiable landmarks play a less important role in New York movies than public spaces like streets and plazas, traces the alienating influence of the International Style on The Apartment, and examines the decline of civic order in such urban-jungle thrillers as Fort Apache, the Bronx. Most readers, however, dazzled by the interspersed 330 photos, will be hard-pressed to keep their eyes on the text.

Though the World Trade Center makes only a cameo appearance here, Sanders’s valentine to New York provides a tonic reminder of the power of its mythic images to outlast their own roots in reality.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2001

ISBN: 0-394-57062-6

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 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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