Complex and alienating, but a bold effort.

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SECRETS OF THE PRIMAVERSE

WHY GOD CANNOT EXIST & NOTHING CAN EXIST WITHOUT HIM

A slim, textually dense attempt to change the conversation between believers and atheists.

Posner explores ancient and modern questions about God’s existence and power from the point of view of philosophical arguments regarding being, ontology and more. Along the way, he coins a variety of new or unusual terms, including “tranjects,” (transcendental objects) “obvents,” (object-events) and “primaverse,” which is seemingly a complement to multiverse (multiple universe). The book’s primaverse theory suggests that God resides (as far as such a statement is possible) in a place of essential being, a place that has always existed, as compared with an emergent being, or coming into being moment to moment. This is the author’s foundation for undermining underlying assumptions about the necessity of God’s existence and statements about God’s nature. While obviously conversant in the philosophers and theologians key to his argument, Posner provides little groundwork to set up his position, with the exception of briefly referencing important past thinkers. In contrast to the heavy prose, the book occasionally assumes a light tone, e.g., one section is called “Let’s Get Metaphysical,” and each chapter begins with a short play in the style of a Socratic dialogue. These tonal shifts give the book something of an identity crisis. His argument is difficult to enter into and engage with, potentially undermining its effectiveness. Posner’s work is likely to overwhelm lay readers, and his lack of citations may put off academics. Posner is clearly widely read and knowledgeable about the topic, but he could go further in helping readers along. Those willing to do their own heavy lifting regarding the history of philosophy and theology may be able to grapple with Posner’s book; readers not interested in doing so may be left in the dust.

Complex and alienating, but a bold effort.

Pub Date: March 22, 2012

ISBN: 978-1936940240

Page Count: 140

Publisher: Metafisica

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2013

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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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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