The gifted, adventurous musician talks as brilliantly as she writes and sings.

READ REVIEW

JONI MITCHELL

IN HER OWN WORDS

Three deep-running interviews with singer-songwriter Mitchell, by singer-journalist Marom.

Conducted in 1973, 1979 and 2012, these are more conversations than interviews; Mitchell picks up Marom’s questions and turns them about as she fashions an answer. She is as candid here as she is sometimes cryptic in her lyrics: revelatory, nervy, emotionally and existentially raw. She doesn’t belabor her romantic relationships (as Rolling Stone was fond of doing) but fills in blanks about her younger days, alone and pregnant and destitute in Toronto, strumming her way to the big stage via a ukulele and weeks of practice. Mitchell is happier, it seems, talking about Nietzsche, Jung and the I Ching or summoning what it is like to be uniquely alive on stage: “One of the things I have had to battle is an almost euphoric feeling….You’re up there alone and receiving all this mass adoration, and you’re liking it.” She bluntly shatters her fantasy-princess stereotype and speaks, without ornament, about a variety of issues. She blazes contempt for the ignorance of our species, speaks up for the role of depression in her art, and considers the discomfiture of affluence and the meaning of work. About her career arc? Q: “What was actually the turning point?” A: “Turning point? I don’t see it as a turning point. I see it as a long, very slow gradual spectrum….” In a later interview, she rejects the onstage sublimity she once discerned. “I was never addicted to applause....The measure for me was the art itself.” But at any moment she can dive into the miracle of making music: “The great things nearly always come on the edge of an error. What comes after the error is spectacular.”

The gifted, adventurous musician talks as brilliantly as she writes and sings.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-7704-1132-6

Page Count: 344

Publisher: ECW Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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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