“In chasing the beliefs I had as a child, I’d somehow managed to grow up”—into a person easily as captivating as her quarry.

READ REVIEW

FAERY TALE

ONE WOMAN'S SEARCH FOR ENCHANTMENT IN A MODERN WORLD

A search for faeries—and magic in general—allows former book editor Pike to reclaim a happier, more engaged life.

While working for two different publishers in New York City, a fog of disgruntlement had settled over the author. She was weary of the hustle and bustle, as well as reading piles of manuscripts, but there was also a greater malaise involved. The whole world seemed to be going to hell in a hand basket, and somewhere along the line she had lost her sense of wonder and the joy of surprise. She hungered for a little magic and a belief in something to restore the pleasurable ache of innocence and reinvigorate her daily life. So, Pike decided to go looking for faeries. One of the most appealing aspects of her book is that she does it all with ringing earnestness—even when she’s a witty smart-aleck—and without a hint of frou-frou spirituality. “I wanted to travel the world, find the people who are still awake in that old dreamtime, hear their stories,” she writes. “I was going to find the goddamned fairies.” As the author discovered, there are plenty of them out there, and numerous people for whom faeries are a fact of life to be reckoned with. Through these people, Pike re-engaged with the world in a way that was more typical of her youth. Her deceased father—a complicated, pungent soul who wends his way through the story—had been an energetic guide to the mystery and myth of the outdoors, and he effectively conveyed that to the author, despite her being a fearful kid. Pike writes of her various encounters with faery-believers and faery lands, from New York to Mexico to Ireland to Scotland, in a winning voice that roams freely from melancholy to mirth, incredulity to bright surprise.

“In chasing the beliefs I had as a child, I’d somehow managed to grow up”—into a person easily as captivating as her quarry.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-53617-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Perigee/Penguin

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

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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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