A suffocating attempt to squeeze UFOs and NDEs (near-death experiences) into the same psychospiritual pigeonhole. Ring (Psychology/Univ. of Conn. at Storrs), well known for his research into near-death experience (Heading for Omega, 1984, etc.), reports that he long resisted investigating other species of paranormal activity (``I don't do UFOs,'' he would exclaim). This blockade ended in 1987, when Whitley Strieber's Communion (Strieber contributes a foreword here) fell into his hands. Ring was hooked, as it dawned on him that UFOs and NDEs ``lead to a similar kind of spiritual transformation.'' In fact—hold onto your New Age hats- -UFOs cause ``a higher level of human being to manifest.'' Ring tries to demonstrate this by detailing typical UFO abductions, which in some respects do parallel religious initiation journeys, but which seem to engender far more fear than enlightenment. The ``Project Omega'' of the title is Ring's attempt to determine the psychological factors that predispose people to NDEs and UFO encounters. He concludes, with neat circularity, that UFOers and NDEers are ``encounter-prone personalities.'' Far more interesting is his discovery that many of these people have suffered a high degree of childhood abuse or trauma. This is suggestive in many ways; what it suggests to Ring is that UFO abductions are not alien encounters per se but some kind of symbolic event, a conclusion that puts him in the ``soft-core'' camp spearheaded by Strieber and Jacques Vallee. Some intense firsthand reports of UFO abductions—these really are scary—ruined by pretentious psycho-pop speculation about emerging ``new levels of consciousness'' and the like. Now that Ring ``does'' UFOs and NDEs, where will he find his next evidence of the coming paradigm shift? Perhaps in the proliferation of wide- eyed books like this.

Pub Date: May 20, 1992

ISBN: 0-688-10729-X

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet