Steamy life of Madonna, who comes off both worse and better than you might expect. King (Everybody Loves Oprah!, 1987, etc.) seemingly has felt no need to go beyond scissors-and-paste in this thinnish bio, since Madonna herself in various interviews furnishes him with enough hot quotes to fuel his pages. Nor is he expert on her music. Still, we are faced here with a gifted human being whose relentlessly graphic honesty breaks conventions like so many arm bones. Raised in a strict Catholic family in Michigan, Madonna has said, ``I grew up with two images of women: The Virgin and the Whore.'' She studied dance, was told by her gay ballet teacher that she had a ``face like an ancient Roman statue,'' which gave her a fix on her beauty. Dropping her college career at Ann Arbor to accept a job with the Alvin Ailey dance troupe in New York, she then landed a soft-porn film job and did some nude modeling (photos that later surfaced in Playboy and Penthouse). Her ``Burning Up'' (sexually) video boosted her onto MTV (``Unlike the others, I'll do anything/I'm not the same, I have no shame,'' go the lyrics). Meanwhile, she apparently stepped over the bodies of those who helped her. Her biggest break came as a kooky lead in Desperately Seeking Susan, followed by a failed marriage to Sean Penn. Her role as Breathless Mahoney in Dick Tracy brought her $14 million in album sales, more than her part-time lover Warren Beatty made as Tracy. Her Truth or Dare film finds her rawly frank about sex, as does her Rolling Stone interview with Carrie Fisher: ``I don't like blow jobs. [I like] getting head.'' The story of a monstrous talent who will say anything—if it's true—and gains our sympathy for it. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Dec. 16, 1991

ISBN: 0-688-10389-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1991

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


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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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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