A wonderfully inviting guide that reminds readers that calm breathing is the center of life itself.



A debut manual focuses on personal transformation.

This book by Chelec Cafritz is deceptively wide-ranging given its comparatively slim page count, as the author lays out a calmly worded, comprehensive life guide that begins with a series of health mishaps. While tending her new baby, she began to experience severe neck pain; she went to a doctor, who advised her to stop looking up. After years of tolerating this persistent pain, she tried a “gentle” yoga class to help deal with the problem. At these classes, she began to experience terrifying incidents her physician characterized as “anxiety attacks.” And in an attempt to treat those episodes, she went to a “breathworker.” Through “conscious breathing,” Chelec Cafritz formed an entirely new worldview. She describes herself in this manual as having been “high-strung, something of an overachiever” without “a woo-woo bone in my body,” but “conscious breathing” changed her outlook on life. “Each inhalation, each exhalation, can be a pathway to joy, to love, to living a full and authentic life,” she writes. “Each breath links us directly to our minds, our hearts, and our souls. There is no such thing as an unimportant breath.” One strand running throughout the rest of the volume consists of useful advice on how readers can learn breathwork themselves: “Try and create slow, steady calm breaths. Feel the floor under your feet. Feel the back of the chair supporting you.” The other major strand deftly explores the insights that the author gleaned as a result of her practice of conscious breathing. Among other things, the method heightened her awareness of the “numbing” effects of long-standing, unexamined habits. Eventually, she began taking on breathwork clients of her own and included here are some memorably touching anecdotes. Chelec Cafritz’s prose throughout is exuberantly readable, with a wry self-awareness that’s often missing from books of this kind. Even nonpractitioners should find themselves breathing easier for reading these pages.

A wonderfully inviting guide that reminds readers that calm breathing is the center of life itself.

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73379-554-8

Page Count: 174

Publisher: Warren Publishing, Inc.

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2019

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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

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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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