A detailed biography that offers valuable insight into the lives of three accomplished women.


The Akeing Heart: Passionate Attachments and Their Aftermath


Judd (More Lasting Than Brass, 2004) offers a real-life epistolary tale of a bizarre literary love triangle.

In the 1930s, three well-educated women—English novelist Sylvia Townsend Warner, English poet Valentine Ackland and American heiress-turned–activist/writer Elizabeth Wade White—became tangled up in one another’s lives. When White met Warner in New York City in 1929, White was 12 years Warner’s junior and struggling to free herself from the expectations of her wealthy conservative family. Warner fostered an intimate, impassioned and largely epistolary friendship with White; Warner’s lifelong lover, the boldly androgynous Ackland, corresponded with White as well. However, when the philandering Ackland took the inexperienced White as her lover, the three women found themselves caught in a web of conflicting desires. Until 1950, White would periodically return to England (leaving another companion behind) and take up with the two women—relegating Warner to the spare bedroom. Judd’s book is a straightforward biographical account set against the backdrop of mid-20th-century political unrest; all three women campaigned for the Loyalist cause during the Spanish Civil War. Much of the text consists of the women’s correspondence and, less frequently, their journals; these are true treasures, as Warner, Ackland and White were all superb writers. The book might have focused a bit more on their riveting interpersonal dramas, but Judd commits to telling their full stories faithfully, even to the most quotidian detail. Their missives about politics, their literary and artistic friends, and even the behaviors of their beloved pet cats are as finely wrought as their heartfelt notes on their romantic complications.

A detailed biography that offers valuable insight into the lives of three accomplished women.

Pub Date: April 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-1484867181

Page Count: 414

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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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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