A thorough, accessible obit-creation manual.




A handy guide that demystifies the challenging art of modern obituary writing.

Most people are familiar with the boilerplate newspaper obit, but some may wonder: do we really need to keep writing them in the modern era? “The web has obliterated space limitations and media restrictions,” writes the author in her introduction, “yet obituary writers are urged to follow the same shopworn templates folks used 30 years ago.” The past few decades have seen great shifts toward secularism, confessionalism, and online social interactions. Kinsey, a longtime professional editor and writer, argues that contemporary obituaries should accommodate this evolution in order to properly celebrate the recently deceased. Her debut book is intended as a beginner’s guide to obit writing, offering not only tips on the writing process, but also an expanded notion of what an obituary can be. Modern obits, she says, must celebrate the deceased’s individuality and humanity—even if that means recognizing some flaws—with photos, videos, voice recordings, music, and other media in addition to simple prose. Kinsey tackles such topics as collaborating on an obituary (or writing one’s own), figuring out a subject’s essential qualities, choosing a digital platform, and even photo and video editing techniques. Citing real obituaries as examples, the author takes readers through the myriad options for making sure that an “obituee” doesn’t become a mere name on a piece of paper. The author writes in a colorful, cajoling prose that keeps things light with numerous jokes and asides: “On my very first report card, the teacher wrote ‘Easily distracted.’ What do people remember about your obituee’s habits and behavior?” She also peppers the text with quotes from famous authors and experienced obituary writers. Most illuminating are the excerpts from dozens of real obituaries, which Kinsey highlights to demonstrate successful uses of place and nostalgia and other elements of a thoughtful, balanced remembrance. In more than 150 pages, Kinsey approaches this art from every angle, and although she advocates for highly personalized obituaries, her book works well as a catchall guide to the form.

A thorough, accessible obit-creation manual.

Pub Date: July 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9990520-2-0

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Nicholson & Stillwell

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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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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