A serviceable place holder while we await more from this talented artist.

READ REVIEW

EXCUSE ME

CARTOONS, COMPLAINTS, AND NOTES TO SELF

A New Yorker cartoonist gathers more than 500 of her pieces from that magazine, other publications, and Instagram.

Though she has been writing and drawing for years, Finck experienced a breakthrough of sorts with her impressively multilayered graphic memoir, Passing for Human (2018). Here, the author provides one or two simple sketches or lists per page, ranging across such sections as “Love and Dating,” “Gender Politics and Politics in General,” “Animals,” “Art & Myth-Making,” and “Time, Space, and How to Navigate Them.” As with many collections of cartoons from illustrators, comedians, or other artists, the quality here varies widely. Further culling would have been welcome (especially in the “Notes to Self” section, which many readers may skim); some of the cartoons feel rushed or even unfinished. However, when she hits, Finck is incisive in her observations of modern life—e.g., two nearly identical sketches of someone typing on their phone; one caption says “Work,” and the other says “Fun.” While Finck is certainly in line with Roz Chast when it comes to expressing anxiety and neurosis (“Can everyone else stop doing anything while I figure out what’s paralyzing me?”) in an approachable, even appealing manner, Finck is also sharp in her exposures of hypocrisy and double standards, especially when it comes to gender relations—e.g., an old man and old woman standing side by side, and the caption under the woman reads, “Too old to been seen as sexual,” while under the man, “Too old to be blamed for hitting on everyone.” Or a woman saying to a man, “I don’t want your last name. Can I have your sense of entitlement instead?” As a two-color paperback, the book should serve well as a holiday gift for fans of Chast, New Yorker cartoons, and droll humor delivered in bite-size chunks.

A serviceable place holder while we await more from this talented artist.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984801-51-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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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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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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