EVERYBODY LOVES OUR TOWN

AN ORAL HISTORY OF GRUNGE

A harsh, harrowing, gritty examination of Seattle's finest rockers.

When most music fans think “grunge,” they justifiably think Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, not necessarily in that order. With this massive oral history, former Blender senior editor Yarm also hips readers to such bands as the U-Men, Cat Butt and TAD. Because the bands' respective members are so engaging and insightful during their interviews, readers will probably fire up their iTunes to find out what these groups were about—which, we discover, was fearlessness. Their music was punk-soaked, angry and defiantly off-kilter, and they weren't afraid to set a stage on fire, incite a crowd or imbibe everything that could be imbibed. Readers will also learn about the semi-rises and painful falls of groups like Mother Love Bone, the Melvins and Screaming Trees through the voices of Mark Lanegan and Buzz Osborne, among many others who tell one hell of a story. The book is at once celebratory and heartbreaking, but what takes it to the next level are its underlying themes, specifically those of jealousy and self-abuse. At the beginning of the grunge movement—important note: Everybody in Seattle hated the word “grunge”—there was a familial, supportive atmosphere that went out the window once certain bands experienced what their rivals/brethren believed to be undeserved success. (Suffice it to say that it's probably best not to mention Candlebox to any Seattle-ite music nerd.) The number of drug-related deaths in the scene was such that one would assume lessons would have been learned. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case: Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr—one of the narrative’s most memorable voices—died of an overdose soon after the book was completed, a sad coda to a book that pays homage the beauty and horror of modern rock. Yarm's affectionate, gossipy, detailed look at the highs and lows of the contemporary Seattle music scene is one of the most essential rock books of recent years.

 

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-46443-9

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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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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