CondÇ Nast Traveler contributing editor Iyer submits a disparate collection of meditations that, taken together, offer a fascinating portrait of the turbulent and tentative emergence of a truly global culture. Travel assumes many guises in this compilation, and while Iyer (Cuba and the Night, 1995, etc.) does indeed take us to far-off exotic lands in several essays (including a trip to the empty spaces of Ethiopia, where he discovers a vibrant form of Christendom and churches filled with white-robed priests), he also profiles literary figures, foreign and domestic, whose work transcends—or is emblematic of—a national identity. He also ruminates more broadly on the cross-border influences of popular culture. An essay on the filming of Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha in a village in Nepal points out how some of the more peculiar attributes of ordinary Nepalese life are made even more bizarre under the sway of the film crew. Visiting Bombay, his ancestral homeland, Iyer writes of the zanily complicated and teeming city as a ``pressure point for an archetypal global struggle between a multicultural future and a tribal past.'' Iyer profiles three of the ``masters'' of the evolving literary form that he has dubbed ``tropical classical''—poet Derek Walcott, novelist Michael Ondaatje, and essayist Richard Rodriguez—noting that each is ``trying to put the realities of our multinational present into the established structures of the past; to link the traditions of our textbooks with the changing societies around us.'' An assortment of literary essays, focusing on authors such as R.K. Narayan, Salman Rushdie, and Kazuo Ishiguro, among others, also sounds this theme: Writers everywhere, he says, ``are using the words they've learned at their masters' feet to turn their masters' literature on its head.'' A pleasing, occasionally sobering, and provocative exploration of the new culture emerging around us and the figures bringing it to life.

Pub Date: April 20, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-45432-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1997

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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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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