Consumer catalogue of the world's finest luxuries, entries first published in GQ and Esquire, by Mayle (Toujours Provence, 1991, etc.). Mayle decided to write a monthly column for GQ on luxuries and the most refined ways to spend money, with GQ's financial support of his investigations—rough work, alas. He delivers in a velvety style, telling: how to buy and eat caviar (skip chopped onion and crumbled egg yolk, don't spread it on toast like peanut butter— just get in bed with a plastic spoon and lift the black pearls to your mouth, then burst them on your palate); how to distinguish a true cigar or a great single-malt scotch; how to hire a black stretch-limo; how to maximize the joys of a supremely exclusive hotel; where to buy a shirt or $1300 hand-stitched custom-made shoes; where to have a suit made, and so on. He is especially keen about the foie gras of Provence (best in the world). He takes us on a money trip through the upkeep of a mistress and all the ``daily jolts of intrigue and adrenaline [that] are meat and drink to the mistress addict''—and talks over the odd gift to the wife to soothe one's remorse. Then there's the indulgence of hiring lawyers (``In practice, it consists of handing over large sums of money to the kind of people you wouldn't want to meet in your neighborhood bar''). And how about hiring a private jet to get you from Avignon to Paris? ``The cost would be substantial—around 48,000 French francs, or $9,000, for fuel and landing fees.'' Or a genuine $l,000 folding hat—a Panama worth its weight in dollar bills? Hmm...well, we deserve it. Much, much fun—and best read with a magnum of Dom Perignon and a four-pound tin of Beluga caviar.

Pub Date: May 15, 1992

ISBN: 0-553-09027-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

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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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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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