A somewhat ragged but intriguing time capsule, sure to appeal to Zeppelin and classic-rock fans.




Rock journalist and biographer Davis (Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N’ Roses, 2008, etc.) commemorates Led Zeppelin’s 1975 U.S. tour.

An extension of the author’s 1985 Zeppelin chronicle, Hammer of the Gods, the appearance of this book is somewhat puzzling. The ’75 American tour was neither the band’s first, last, best nor most notorious. It was plagued by illness (Robert Plant), injury (to Jimmy Page’s hand), lawsuits or criminal charges waiting to happen (to John Bonham, called “The Beast,” but never to his face) and equipment malfunction (John Paul Jones’s Mellotron, essential to the band’s new centerpiece, “Kashmir”). The chief justification for the book is Davis’s rediscovery of a boxful of notes and memorabilia from the tour, which he had covered for Atlantic Monthly (whose “old fart” editor in chief at the time never saw fit to actually run the piece). As odd a subject as the tour may seem, there are reasons to recommend it. In 1975, the band released Physical Graffiti, the first on their own Swan Song label. Previously considered just a band for suburban teenagers, Zeppelin was at the height of their commercial and critical success. However, the band members were beginning to be seen as overblown dinosaurs far removed from the concerns of their fans, and punk rock was bubbling up to challenge blues-influenced megabands like Zeppelin for the hearts and minds of anguished adolescents. Davis writes with enormous affection for that passing world, indulging in a little reminiscence of his own lost youth as he recalls his front-row seat for (arguably) the biggest band ever.

A somewhat ragged but intriguing time capsule, sure to appeal to Zeppelin and classic-rock fans.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-592-40589-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Gotham Books

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2010

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


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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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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