A stimulating, illuminating look at the booming baby-making business and the knotty questions it raises.

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EVERYTHING CONCEIVABLE

HOW ASSISTED REPRODUCTION IS CHANGING MEN, WOMEN, AND THE WORLD

Washington Post Magazine feature writer Mundy examines the cultural impact of reproduction technologies through the stories of individual men and women and the people helping them create the babies they have been unable to conceive naturally.

The author puts the present status of assisted reproduction in perspective with a brief history of the science behind the new technologies and some revealing statistics about the number of people and dollars involved. While sperm banks have been around for decades, it was the discovery that eggs could be retrieved vaginally that sparked the rapid growth in fertility clinics. Childless wives and heterosexual women whose biological clocks are ticking are not the only clients seeking help at these centers. Demonstrating how the traditional family unit is being changed by reproductive technology, Mundy includes in her cast of characters a gay male couple who acquired twin daughters, using both an egg donor and a surrogate mother, and bisexual or lesbian women who turn to sperm banks to conceive their own babies, many of them having struck out with adoption agencies. Fertility is big business, generating three billion dollars in annual revenues, and it’s largely unregulated in America, the author notes. She identifies many medical and moral issues that must be addressed. The sharp rise in multiple births poses dangers to the health of both mother and babies. Donors’ rights to privacy can conflict with their progeny’s desire for information and/or a relationship. Hundreds of thousands of unused frozen embryos currently have an ambiguous legal status. Male IVF babies appear to have higher rates of physical defects. Many professionals are troubled by the use of reproduction technology to select a child’s sex.

A stimulating, illuminating look at the booming baby-making business and the knotty questions it raises.

Pub Date: April 24, 2007

ISBN: 1-4000-4428-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2007

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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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