HOSPITAL

AN ORAL HISTORY OF COOK COUNTY HOSPITAL

In her debut, Studs Terkel protÇgÇe Lewis fumbles an attempt to create a portrait of Chicago's Cook County Hospital by recording the voices of its staff and a few patients. Subtitle notwithstanding, this is not truly the history of an institution that was established in the 19th century: Only a handful of individuals have recollections going back even to the 1940s and 1950s, and inner-city social problems get as much attention as the hospital itself. A portrait of sorts does emerge from Lewis's selections, all of which were recorded in 1993, and it is both comforting and horrifying. Many of the employees who were interviewed—doctors, nurses, administrators, housekeepers, elevator operators, etc.—care deeply about Cook County, and they work hard at their jobs, but the stories they tell reveal shortages and shabby physical conditions, mistakes and oversights by harried caregivers, and interminable waits by patients. Outside the hospital lurk poverty, homelessness, and increasing violence, which affect everything the staff tries to do about the multiple chronic illnesses, infectious diseases, and trauma that bring patients to Cook County's doors. Lewis's questions are not included, but she clearly sought her interviewees' thoughts on health care reform and the hospital's future. A single-payer plan of some kind is the favorite of those who have given thought to reform, and the medical staff speak hopefully of increasing community outreach through outpatient clinics that would stress prevention and primary care. Buried here is a picture of a system in crisis struggling to find its way, but the task of wading through more than 60 seemingly unedited and often redundant transcripts is a tedious one. A mountain of raw material out of which a useful book could have been shaped.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1995

ISBN: 1-56584-138-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1994

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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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