Contains some big ideas, but not the best place to start for spiritual enlightenment.

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Following in the Footsteps of God

Robb F.’s fourth book continues his series of spiritual insights.

Of the dozens of short chapters here, some are astonishingly brief; “Simplify,” for example, is only seven words. Beyond that, each meditation ranges from half a page to three pages. At first glance, the format suggests it’s verse, since the sections are center-aligned on the page. The author doesn’t classify, saying only, “[T]hese writings constitute a chronological journal of insights and revelations.” Each section contemplates the infinite and suggests ways to know God, as in one chapter titled “A Perfect Life: Some Notes and a Blueprint for Spiritual Growth.” While the author quotes the Old Testament in some sections, other sections suggest a less Judeo-Christian perspective, encouraging readers to “seek to find the correct answers within oneself, thereby getting closer to the consciousness of God.” In addition to the Bible, the author draws from a plethora of sources: Buddhism, Mother Teresa, Farrah Gray, Joel Goldsmith and others. Ultimately, the book falls outside of any one belief system and declares itself a spiritual guidebook for the seeker of the “Ultimate Creator.” Unfortunately, the spiritual-speak often reads as fluff. “Human Desires and Fears” begins: “Let go and let God.” In “Walking with God,” “We travel; we walk, as One—together, hand-in-hand.” However, a few insights do shine through—“Assigning a gender designation to God with us as the son or daughter is perhaps an attempt to create a Holy Family within our lives.” Indeed, some meditations contain true wisdom, “Gratitude…is the starting place.”

Contains some big ideas, but not the best place to start for spiritual enlightenment.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1936037315

Page Count: 162

Publisher: Az Publishing Services, LLC.

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2013

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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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