An engaging archive of Dylan’s own perspective on his artistic process and ever changing cultural significance.

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BOB DYLAN

THE ESSENTIAL INTERVIEWS

A dense compendium of significant feature interviews with Bob Dylan.

Rolling Stone contributing editor Cott (There's a Mystery There: The Primal Vision of Maurice Sendak, 2017, etc.), who contributes two interviews, discusses Dylan’s intimidating nature as a subject given his reputation for fungible autobiography: “His life story changed as he proceeded onward in his journey….You would also never know what his voice was going to sound like.” These 34 interviews illustrate how Dylan’s role in society changed over time, following his days as a precocious folk singer (the earliest interview dates from 1962). Some well-known interlocutors appear, ranging from Studs Terkel and Nat Hentoff to Sam Shepard and Jonathan Lethem, who characterizes Dylan in 2006 as “not impatient, but keenly alive to the moment, and ready on a dime to make me laugh and to laugh himself.” Despite Dylan’s reputation for “dislik[ing] interviews for years because he’s always asked to reveal something about his personal life or to interpret his lyrics,” he generally comes across as cheerful and generous, if mischievously opaque. The earlier interviews show him grappling with fame and influence against the chaotic backdrop of the 1960s. Regarding his departure from political songwriting, he observed in 1965, “you can make all sorts of protest songs and put them on a Folkways record. But who hears them?” In the 1970s, interviewers tracked his strange side projects, such as the four-hour film Renaldo and Clara, which coincided with his painful divorce, and his controversial excursions into born-again Christianity. By the 1980s, interviews showcased Dylan as a resurgent elder statesman of rock, a recurring motif throughout the last interview here, Douglas Brinkley’s long 2009 feature in Rolling Stone, in which Brinkley writes, “everyone feels energized by his charismatic presence.” The overall effect is an immersion in a singular figure’s life, though a fuller chronology of Dylan’s recordings and accomplishments might have provided accessibility for neophytes.

An engaging archive of Dylan’s own perspective on his artistic process and ever changing cultural significance.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7319-6

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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