A candid and useful, if sometimes familiar, guide to the challenges of parenting in an era of distraction.

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BABIES ARE LIKE A CUP OF COFFEE

HOW TO RAISE YOUR KIDS IN A DIGITAL AGE WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND OR YOUR FREE TIME

A debut parenting book shares ideas for creating happy, fulfilled families.

As a mother of three and grandmother of four, Rutherford has lived the advice she gives in this easy-to-read, occasionally humorous guide. She aims to help parents not only get through their days, but enjoy them as well. Her main idea is often heard but rarely followed. “The solution,” she says, is “getting back to the basics, so family life is less chaotic. By basics, I mean spending an entire day without any electronics whatsoever and focusing instead on interacting with your kids, and perhaps playing a board game or going for a walk with the family after dinner.” Her tone is warm and amusing. After hearing the news of a new baby in the family, “grandpa and I were total blubber butts.” Some of her suggestions, such as the list of activities for a summer vacation, are worth hanging on the refrigerator for those inevitable moments when bored children and frustrated parents collide. Others, however, are so obvious that the audience can finish her sentences: “Read to your baby every day. The rhythm of your voice will soothe and content them.” Her voice belongs to her generation but may feel dated to younger readers. Does anyone make sloppy Joes anymore? How many parents of young children were old enough to watch television when Phyllis Diller was a regular on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show? These are quibbles, however, in a thoughtful book that is comprehensive—she covers everything from deciding between cloth and disposable diapers to preventing skin cancer and creating family journals—and serves as a helpful primer for new or soon-to-be parents. Rutherford begins her book by explaining that she took the title from her Scottish grandmother, who often said, “Having a baby’s like having a cup of coffee, wee darly.” The author confides that she still doesn’t know what her grandmother meant, but it works as a metaphor for the confusion of parenting.

A candid and useful, if sometimes familiar, guide to the challenges of parenting in an era of distraction.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-93566-8

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Bowker

Review Posted Online: Sept. 22, 2017

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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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