Gimmicks aside, the essays are mostly informative and intelligent.

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FIFTY WRITERS ON FIFTY SHADES OF GREY

A collection of essays from a variety of perspectives on the best-selling erotic romance series.

The Fifty Shades trilogy, just like the Twilight series that inspired it, has created demand for books with similar themes. This book, edited by veteran erotica editor Perkins, is clearly an attempt to capitalize on this new, robust market. Several of the contributors make this shift in the publishing industry a theme of their essays: Louise Fury writes that E.L. James has “helped pave the way” for existing writers of erotica and erotic romance and that “new voices [will] emerge and follow in her formidable, trailblazing footsteps.” Though there is general agreement that these books have created a space for new audiences and authors, there is disagreement on the representation of BDSM in the books. Jennifer Armintrout persuasively argues that the violent sex, though problematic, is less disturbing than Christian Grey’s controlling and stalking behavior. Yet Susan Wright points out that critics of BDSM forget that “everyone in America is free to sky dive, rock climb and play football, which cause far more harm than BDSM.” Perhaps the most novel perspectives come from Cecilia Tan's, Mala Bhattacharjee's and Anne Jamison’s essays on the Twilight fan-fiction origins of Fifty Shades and Tish Beaty’s account of discovering and editing the manuscript. Some of the essays appear to be hastily written personal reflections with a sentence or two about Fifty Shades thrown in; the “Fifty Writers” gimmick may have prompted the inclusion of some filler. However, the more thoughtful essays will provide food for thought for readers eager to learn more about the series and the lifestyle it depicts. Other contributors include M.J. Rose, Judith Regan and Rakesh Satyal.

Gimmicks aside, the essays are mostly informative and intelligent.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-937856-42-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Smart Pop/BenBella

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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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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