Chatty, enthusiastic and at times rambling, Rose is a welcoming guide on her latest journey of literary discovery.

READ REVIEW

THE SHELF

FROM LEQ TO LES: ADVENTURES IN EXTREME READING

A year of reading randomly.

In another literary memoir, Rose (The Year of Reading Proust, 1997, etc.) chronicles the year she spent reading 23 works of fiction on a shelf designated LEQ to LES at the New York Society Library in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Although she had no expectations about the quality of the books on this particular shelf, the project excited her: “[N]no one in the history of the world had read exactly this series of novels,” she writes. It seemed like an adventure in “Extreme Reading. To go where no one had gone before.” She chose the shelf on the basis of a few self-imposed rules: Several authors needed to appear, and only one could have more than five books, of which she would read three; there would be both contemporary and older works; one book needed to be a classic that she had always wanted to read. Describing her project as “organic…like a travel journal,” Rose uses each book to take her down unexpected paths: Reading Nabokov’s translation of Mikhail Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time (the classic she meant to read) sent her to read several other translations in an effort to connect with a story she found, at first, stilted. Rhoda Lerman’s Call Me Ishtar and several other novels inspired Rose to herself contact Lerman, with whom she felt such an “instant rapport” that the two became friends. Noting that her shelf contained works of only three women, Rose pauses in one chapter to ask about the challenges and preoccupations of women writers. Lisa Lerner’s unsettling science fiction, Just Like Beauty, led Rose to track down the author, who, like Lerman, is now a friend. Using websites and Facebook, Rose experienced “the fun of participating in a virtual conversation about literature at any moment of the day or night.”

Chatty, enthusiastic and at times rambling, Rose is a welcoming guide on her latest journey of literary discovery.

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-26120-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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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