An earnest and engaging exploration of aging.

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DISCOVERING SENIOR SPACE

A MEMOIR

In this memoir about identity and the aging process, a retired professor contemplates different facets of her life.

At the age of 64, Juhasz (A Desire for Women, 2003, etc.) retired as a professor of English at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and she suddenly had time to revive old passions, like acting. But when acute arthritis and other physical problems put an end to her stage performances, she realized she was utterly unprepared for the realities of aging. The author found it hard to adjust to a time of life when she was no longer middle-aged but not yet old (she calls it “senior space”). Without the stimulation of daily schedules and interactions with colleagues, she was anxious and depressed. Fortunately, she was able to find new interests, such as learning to sing. Six years after retirement, the insecure feelings remained, but dissecting her past and present helped Juhasz to better understand various aspects of herself. In this cleareyed analysis, she intertwines stories from her life—her youthful aspirations, her family, her search for true love, and her work as an academic—with reflections on being a woman and aging. Though her prose is impeccable, a few of her childhood anecdotes can be tediously familiar. For example, when she was an awkward teenager, she had a fight with her mother and wrote about it in her journal. She uses the journal entry to examine her relationship with her mom. In another eye-glazing account she talks about the angst of not feeling pretty in high school. Her more compelling stories occur later, such as her discovery of feminism in 1971. Likewise, the pain she felt while searching for love and coming to terms with her lesbian identity is memorably candid. And her assessment of what it means to be a grandmother is both tender and strong: “I am a caregiver: to my grandchild, my daughter, and her family. What I did felt right, and far from questioning it, I was exalted by it.”

An earnest and engaging exploration of aging.     

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-979008-62-4

Page Count: 258

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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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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