24/7

LIVING IT UP AND DOUBLING DOWN IN THE NEW LAS VEGAS

Las Vegas, the fastest-growing city in the US, as seen by a skeptical—and often funny—journalist. Martinez, a native of Mexico who has worked as a lawyer and Wall Street Journal reporter, operates from a goofy plot angle that would chill most freelance writers: He committed the whole of his $50,000 advance for this book to research—that is, to gambling. His sensible wife protests at the outset, “Why don—t you just write your book about Vegas, but keep the advance?” However, Martinez, evidently working from the George Plimpton journalist-as-participant school, presses on, and each chapter closes with a tally of his occasional wins yet usual losses until, four weeks later, his advance has been whittled down to $5,120. Martinez, obviously, could have kept the money and written a whiz-bang book; he’s a sharp and witty observer of the passing scene, he has done his homework, and he has a delicious sense of irony, all of which serve his narrative well. Still, the hundreds of hours he logged before the green felt of the gambling tables give him an unusual peg on which to hang his story, which is one of dislocation and weirdness, populated by losers, con artists, and, even more, ordinary folks just looking to get a break. Although they never do, of course, they keep trying in the face of staggering odds. So does Martinez, who finally closes with an admission of defeat after having entertained the delusion he might just make it out with his grubstake intact: “The war was over. Any chance of amassing unspeakable riches off this clever boondoggle was now foreclosed, and the finality of that realization was overwhelming.” Call it pop sociology, gonzo journalism, or social criticism: It’s all good fun.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-375-50181-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2000

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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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