THE SECONDARY COLORS

THREE ESSAYS

More than you ever wanted to know about orange, purple, and green. With this sequel to his similarly styled The Primary Colors (1994), Theroux has, thankfully, almost reached the end of the rainbow. And while there are a few golden nuggets strewn about, there is also a great deal of dross. For the most part, Theroux doesn't so much write as endlessly accumulate—fact after fact after quote after reference; at times it's like a Nexis search from hell. Mentions of every appearance of purple in literature segue into purple foods, then circles back to literature via purple poems, and then it's on to purple costumes in the movies. Charitably, the effect Theroux is striving for might be called musical, but he hits all the wrong notes. His prose, in particular, tends to a garish purple, full of archaisms gleaned from Shakespeare 101: ``Orange is a bold, forritsome color.'' Though he tends to an eerie kind of death-of-the-author absence, he occasionally veers into obtrusiveness, including attacks on his critics, a churlish dig at the person who claimed to have discovered several plagiarisms in the last book, and leaden personal digressions: ``I myself have always loved too intensely, if intensely means inordinately, with the extended sense of having romantic overexpectations—in a purple way, I think.'' But Theroux is no literary greenhorn. There are a number of thoughtful observations and compelling juxtapositions. And his research is humblingly prodigious. What it reveals most of all is how similar the significances of colors can be. All three colors, for example, have sexual connotations, all three can describe dusk, rain, etc. Theroux also shows how fickle metaphorical meaning can be. Green can signify youth and vitality or, conversely, mold and staleness. The Romans even spoke of ``green'' old age. All in all, a colorless and cumbersome compendium.

Pub Date: April 25, 1996

ISBN: 0-8050-4458-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1996

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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