Fans of Jillette’s outspoken sarcasm and indecency will not be disappointed.

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GOD, NO!

SIGNS YOU MAY ALREADY BE AN ATHEIST AND OTHER MAGICAL TALES

Admittedly digressive, tangential collection of random thoughts and observations about life from the perspective of a wise-cracking atheist.

Critically acclaimed magician and comedian Jillette (The Bible of Unspeakable Truths, 2010, etc.) organizes his latest into chapters that replace each of the Ten Commandments with an atheistic suggestion on how to live life. As such, the author creates his own atheist-libertarian manifesto aimed to disgust and enrage any God-loving churchgoer who dares to peruse even a few pages. Many of his stories, however, do not directly preach atheism or criticize organized religion but instead illustrate “how one goofy atheist lives his life in turn-of-the-century America.” Jillette delivers provocative commentary on a variety of controversial topics, such as global warming, 9/11 and airline security. These thoughts are interspersed with personal anecdotes about his outrageous adventures and escapades before and after becoming a celebrity, including sex while scuba-diving, relationships with strippers and a mishap involving a hair dryer and scorched genitals. While Jillette writes with a witty finesse that certainly adds humor to his stories, it is usually masked underneath layers of unbridled profanity and vulgarity. Favoring shock value, the author gives the impression that he would be extremely disappointed if his audience did not find him offensive.

Fans of Jillette’s outspoken sarcasm and indecency will not be disappointed.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4516-1036-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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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