An uplifting—but sometimes bizarre—series of meditations on how to seize your inner energy and achieve deeper happiness.

READ REVIEW

HOLDING A BUTTERFLY

AN EXPERIMENT IN MIRACLE-MAKING

A spiritual guide focuses on finding your heart’s desire.

Woodland’s (The Breakthrough Point, 2018, etc.) manual urges readers to discover the miracles in their daily lives. “This book is an invitation to suspend disbelief,” the author writes, “let your mind be boggled, and have an experience of reality beyond what you think you know for certain.” The volume is also an invitation to what Woodland calls a “great adventure,” in which the rules of reality are suspended and anything can happen. The author urges readers to set aside their worrying and overthinking. If you can’t see a clear path from where you are to where you want to be, she asserts, “stop thinking about it”: “Stop. Stop whatever you’re doing that isn’t bringing you peace. Stop talking, stop worrying, stop trying to figure things out, stop running from one thing to another, and stop proving you’re right or trying to be perfect.” Some of the book’s chapters include a series of exercises for readers to attempt as well as “Questions for Thought.” Much of the material revolves around Woodland’s conception of the “Zero Point Field,” consisting of “the energy left in a space when all other energy and matter are removed.” From this “quantum soup” can spring all kinds of healing energies and miracles, and this book is designed to help readers “receive, hold, and disseminate” what the author refers to as “God energy.” The goal is not only to use these miracles to achieve life’s desires (“Desiring from life isn’t a selfish thing,” she writes), but also, charmingly, “to make the world brighter by our presence.” Woodland’s vivid and readable prose consistently shows her readers ways to break out of their old, unthinking patterns. She repeatedly emphasizes that her readers already possess an abundance of God energy, telling them that any spiritual power they could possibly want is already within them just waiting to be used. “I’ve always eschewed the role of guru,” Woodland writes, and that appealing egalitarian tone runs throughout the work. Unfortunately, the author’s New Age enthusiasms sometimes overwhelm her larger narrative. Her assertion that there’s a scientific correlation between prayer and the healing of physical ailments is of course not grounded in empirical evidence. Nor is there any evidence for fire-walking or spoon-bending (there are countless examples of frauds making both claims). The book’s most peculiar contention, about “dental alchemy” that facilitates energy transmissions through metal fillings, will require a great deal of the aforementioned suspension of disbelief. And readers may find far more objectionable Woodland’s explanation of “the language of symptoms”: “People with sore backs typically feel unsupported; those with sore hands are often trying to handle too much by themselves; people with heart problems are likely to be broken-hearted or have lost their zest for life.” Such overstated claims notwithstanding, the author’s persistent calls for readers to slow down, to still their inner clamor and calm themselves, make for reassuring reading.

An uplifting—but sometimes bizarre—series of meditations on how to seize your inner energy and achieve deeper happiness.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-939116-65-9

Page Count: 219

Publisher: Waterside Press

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2019

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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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