An insightful, easy-to-read guide to an illustrious European city.




Spalla (Catch Your Breath, 2014) offers a travel memoir and a love story about two Americans in Paris.

In 2003, at the age of 57, the twice-divorced author says that she had “given up on finding anything close to lasting love”—that is, until she met a man named Bernie Verdier in Huntsville, Alabama. He was born in Paris but had served in the U.S. Army for 22 years before embarking on a second, 20-year career as a program manager for defense contractors. The French-speaking, Corvette-driving Verdier and the author hit it off well enough to decide to travel to Paris together. “That was almost twelve years ago,” says Spalla, “and my life has not been the same since then.” She takes readers on a number of intimate journeys to France, providing observations (the smell of Paris is “a combination of bread baking, car exhaust fumes, a bit of sewer gas, potatoes frying, cigarette smoke, and musty sea water”), tips (“try the American Cathedral of Paris” for an English-language church service, she says), and personal stories, such as one in which she apprehended a pickpocket. Overall, the book makes for a pleasant mélange of material that’s lighthearted but earnest. The Alabaman author’s personality inevitably shines through; a self-proclaimed “Southern belle,” she provides honest accounts of occasional timidity (“I didn’t venture out much on my own,” she admits of her first apartment stay in Paris) as well as practical advice (“don’t drink very much unless you have a cooperative bladder!” she says of attending the Tour de France). Overall, readers will likely find her story to be both useful and inspiring.

An insightful, easy-to-read guide to an illustrious European city.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5234-9115-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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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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