A latter-day Secondhand Rose shares stories of her vintage clothing shop, her best finds and her family history in a memoir that shines with pure likeability.
The story is Alison’s, though she penned it with sister Melissa. A pretty girl who's darn nice, too, Alison’s first career was as a haute couture model in Europe and New York. Ten years passed happily and lucratively, but like most fashion models, she eventually had to find a second vocation. Here, she relates the story of round two. Her boutique, Hooti Couture, began on a lark as a partnership with a friend. The friend is gone, but the store remains, a repository of treasures dug up on scouting expeditions to estate sales and country auctions. Alison was bred for this game; her mother combed the Salvation Army store racks for “good” labels. Now she can spot a muddy old dress and know instinctively that after a little Woolite and some new buttons, it will go in the shop window and sell in hours. This determined optimism is paired with a gift for promotion, endowing Alison’s finds with a seductive, nobody-else-will-have-one patina. She extends this rosy vision to her neighborhood as well, frequently touting her Brooklyn home’s myriad charms. (Readers will not be surprised to learn that she is vice president of the North Flatbush Improvement District.) The relentless cheeriness is saved from being cloying by Alison’s frank assessment of her failures in romance and business, although she can’t ever be kept down for long. It’s a tell-all of a different sort; the intimate details of her relationships are left vague, but the strap of a handbag is analyzed with precision.
Vicarious pleasure for anyone who loves hearing about a great find.
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").
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)