Model, singer, and pop icon Nico was at the center of 60's hip, but when keyboardist James Young backed her up in the early 80's, a lifetime of heroin addiction had reduced her to a rude and demanding specter haunting the fringes of rock 'n' roll society. Here's Young's coarse and chaotic, entertaining and disconcerting, account of the final years of the Queen of the Junkies. Born in 1938 as Christa Paffgen, Nico was Berlin's top model at 17, soon working for Chanel in Paris and Ford in New York. After hanging out with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, she was taken up by Andy Warhol, who made her the singer for the Velvet Underground (who weren't pleased, but Warhol paid the bills). While never a huge success, the Velvet Underground is widely acknowledged as the hippest band ever, and Nico's association with it created a small audience for her subsequent scattered singing career, managed in the 80's by eccentric rock entrepreneur ``Dr. Demetrius,'' who hired the author for a 1982 tour of Italy. For the next six years, Nico, Young, and the rest of the band performed for often disappointed audiences everywhere from L.A. to Australia to Prague to Japan, in tours ineptly planned by Demetrius and modified by Nico's need to score drugs. Joining them along the way were pop luminaries John Cale and Allen Ginsberg (``Ginsberg...was never really hip, being too much of a celebrant...He'd get excited and take off his clothes in the presence of people who were too cool to remove their Ray Bans''). Young's portrait of Nico is generous, considering the selfish single-mindedness of a career junkie, and his natural ear and eye render scathing takes on everyone else. Unevenly written and sometimes troubling—there are hints of scores settled here—but, still, a funny and engaging chronicle that puts you right on the tour bus, amid the clutter of drums and drugs and unwashed bodies.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 1993

ISBN: 0-87951-504-X

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1993

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


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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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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