A vibrant and expansive anthology.

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BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

A COLLECTION OF CONTEMPORARY NONFICTION

Two distinguished writers/editors gather together flash nonfiction essays from both established and emerging writers.

In this volume, Kitchen (The Circus Train, 2014, etc.), who died in 2014, and Lenney (The Object Parade, 2014, etc.) continue the work they began 20 years ago when they first began editing anthologies of the newest and best in contemporary nonfiction. The works selected for inclusion are as delightfully varied in terms of tone, style, and subject matter as they are individually unique from each other. This diversity is signaled by the opening piece, James Richardson’s “Aphorisms & Ten-Second Essays,” an experimental reflection on the nature of storytelling that interweaves random truths about daily life. While the editors do not explicitly organize the pieces according to theme, they situate them in such a way so that, and as Lenney observes, “where one writer ends, another begins.” In “What I Hear,” for example, Martha Cooley reflects on her tinnitus and how the “instruments” she hears inside her head are ultimately playing me to myself.” In the essay that directly follows it, Geeta Kothari picks up the theme of listening. In her story, the perspective shifts to a woman who has spent her whole life doing as others have told her, even when what she has heard is superstition. Part of the vigor and liveliness that characterize this volume also derive from the fact that Kitchen and Lenney include the work of new writers like Josette Kubaszyk. In her lyrical essay “Swing,” she explores a young girl’s thoughts as she examines a swing and reflects on both its previous owner and her own experiences “swooping forward, falling back, humming the rhythm of the wind.” Refreshing and often unexpected, the stories in this collection—which run the gamut from memoir to critique to meditation and more—offer insights into experiences that, as they challenge readers’ perceptions of the world, also celebrate the pain, joy, and wonder of being human.

A vibrant and expansive anthology.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-393-35099-9

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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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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