Part graphic novel, part confessional, overall delightful. An obvious choice for Hyperbole fans, but this will also appeal...

HYPERBOLE AND A HALF

UNFORTUNATE SITUATIONS, FLAWED COPING MECHANISMS, MAYHEM, AND OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPENED

A quirky, humorous memoir/collection of illustrated essays.

Brosh is a good example of how new literary forms are evolving. An immensely successful blogger, the author’s Hyperbole and a Half earned her a 2011 Bloggies Award and also garnered a spot on PC World’s “Funniest Sites on the Web.” Suffice it to say, she has become something of an Internet sensation. However, as many readers know, web writing often does not translate well to a book (and vice versa). Brosh makes a solid first attempt to bridge this literary gap. Anyone who takes years’ worth of blog posts and tries to pare them down into book form is facing a formidable task, whether the writing is any good or not (in this case, it is, though some essays are stronger than others). Blog followers don’t usually binge read, but book readers do. That said, holding a book may leave some with a yearning for more cohesion. It does feel choppy in places, but the wit, hilarity and poignancy of the subject matter trump structural concerns. Brosh is a connoisseur of the human condition. In her typical self-deprecating and dramatic manner (hence the hyperbole reference), she tells personal stories that name things we can all relate to, including fear, love, depression and hope. Perhaps the most endearing thing about her writing is that she approaches her subject matter from a vulnerable, childlike place, complete with Paintbrush caricatures that have arguably already earned iconic status. Brosh’s longtime fans and cult followers will be happy to learn that half of the material for this book is new and unpublished. The other half is comprised of Internet favorites, including “Simple Dog,” “The God of Cake” and “Adventures in Depression.”

Part graphic novel, part confessional, overall delightful. An obvious choice for Hyperbole fans, but this will also appeal to fans of other oddball web presences like Homestar Runner and The Oatmeal.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6617-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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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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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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