Hopeful but not for everyone.

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But He Calls Me Blessed!

WHEN THE UNBELIEVABLE HAPPENS TO BELIEVERS

Real stories, as told by Udoh-Grossfurthner, from real women with faith in their lives.

Udoh-Grossfurthner’s book claims to tell “unbelievable” stories, and it does—each of the five women’s stories told are, at times, astonishing. With hardships ranging from barrenness to abuse, the women’s stories have one common thread—faith becomes a lifeline. After being driven to desperation by all manner of heartache at the hands of the world, their communities or their partners, all five women turn to their faith for hope. Udoh-Grossfurthner’s book is for Christians, even if it hopes to be a book for any suffering person of any faith and background. Most stories contain a dizzying amount of references to Scripture, which would be difficult to wade through for nonbelievers. Still, the collection triumphs over other inspirational story collections due to its unique vantage point—Udoh-Grossfurthner is Nigerian and lives in Vienna, Austria. None of the stories she relates are about Westerners. The unique cultural elements of each story help lend new interest to familiar plotlines. For instance, Silvana’s inability to conceive is doubly difficult in a Nigerian context, where blame is generally cast on the woman; most men’s families will begin scheming for a childless man to impregnate a different woman when his wife can’t bear a child. Though unpolished, the gripping stories are quick reads. Udoh-Grossfurthner tells each story in the woman’s voice, which creates an intimate, if less engaging, tone. In addition, Western readers might have a difficult time understanding the ultraconservative views shared by some of the women profiled. Nonetheless, those seeking comfort might find it here.

Hopeful but not for everyone. 

Pub Date: May 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-3950343304

Page Count: 178

Publisher: Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 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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