A thorough exploration of samurai culture and values and their impact on Japanese history— informative and invigorating,...

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The Courage of a Samurai

SEVEN SWORD-SHARP PRINCIPLES FOR SUCCESS

A combination moral guidebook and Japanese history resource illustrates the code of samurai warriors, explaining its importance and how it can be incorporated into everyday life.

Third-generation Japanese-American Whaley shares elements of her heritage with the aim of enlightening and inspiring readers to adopt some samurai practices. The debut book highlights the historical significance of the Bushido code among Japanese warriors and, consequently, its effect on Japanese society as a whole. The Bushido code emphasizes the following principles: courage, integrity, benevolence, respect, honesty, honor, loyalty, and ganbaru (a Japanese word meaning “to persist”). The book is separated into eight chapters: one dedicated to each concept. Each chapter begins with a thorough description of what the principle meant to Japanese warriors, what it conveys today, and how it can be successfully applied to everyday life. This is followed by stories of Japanese or Japanese-American figures who embodied the principle discussed in that chapter (“Integrity” features the Asian-American politician Daniel K. Inouye, who enlisted in the Army during World War II—receiving several accolades, including the Bronze Star and the Medal of Honor—and served as a U.S. senator from Hawaii). In addition, well-known quotations are inserted throughout the book, when relevant to the particular chapter (for example, “Courage” offers the Japanese proverb “Even a hunter cannot kill a bird that comes to him for refuge”). Whaley’s passion for Japanese culture and heritage is evident in each page, as she includes patient explanations and well-researched details. The stories included in each chapter are the heart of the book. They effectively provide historical background, as well as a reference of how each principle can be upheld to the highest degree. These tales would be just as powerful—or perhaps more so—if presented separate from the motivational aspect of the work. In attempting to accomplish too much, the volume becomes scattered and distracting at times. The introduction of each chapter is reasonable, but is followed by a forceful encouragement for readers to adopt each principle in order to find success in their own lives, which eventually becomes repetitive. Additionally, the inspirational quotations break the flow of the writing, which serves as inspiration enough.

A thorough exploration of samurai culture and values and their impact on Japanese history— informative and invigorating, though laden with heavy-handed motivational mantras.

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-938686-82-5

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Aviva Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2016

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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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