An endearing recollection of one man’s long career in basketball.

READ REVIEW

Hittin' the Jumper

A 60-YEAR AFFAIR WITH BASKETBALL

Dowdall recounts a lifetime of amateur basketball in this debut sports memoir.

Born and raised in small-town Montana, Dowdall was the son of a basketball coach who introduced him to the sport in the 1950s, when the author was just 3 years old. So began a lifetime love of the game. Though he never performed at the professional or even collegiate level, Dowdall has consistently played basketball throughout his life and hopes to keep at it for as long as he can: “I have played through many stages of my life, and the circumstances of each necessarily had some impact on my playing. I’ve progressed from being the youngest on the court to the oldest on the court.” This book represents a treasury of stories from Dowdall’s decades of play, from participating in high school games and rec leagues to coaching youth basketball and finally competing in the Over The Hill pickup group. Dowdall not only tracks his own life via his long relationship with the sport, but also charts the rise of basketball as a new American pastime, enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels, in games both formal and casual, from elementary school gymnasiums to the White House itself. (Dowdall refers to Barack Obama as “our first basketball president.”) The author is a natural raconteur, and his ability to recall the details of games, locations, people, and rivalries from yesteryear provides a colorful bed of specificity. Though occasionally nap-inducing in that charming way that sports minutiae can often be, many of the stories are quite entertaining and artfully constructed. Dowdall frequently builds them around the other competitors on various teams, their personalities, and career trajectories—from pro players in Belgium to future Democratic nominees for governor—providing a human lens through which to view the sport. One might be incredulous that a memoir by a basketball nobody could be of general interest, but Dowdall represents the perfect Everyman baller, intimate with the sport not at its heights but at its grass roots. Sixty years on, he’s still excited just to be out on the court.

An endearing recollection of one man’s long career in basketball.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9976902-0-0

Page Count: 469

Publisher: Goosetown Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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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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