ON THE ROAD TO BABADAG

TRAVELS IN THE OTHER EUROPE

A Nike Award–winning author travels through Eastern Europe, a place littered with the crumbling relics of communism, with inhabitants abandoned and seemingly frozen in time waiting for their future to begin.

Eschewing major European cities, Stasiuk (Fado, 2009, etc.) traveled east from his native Poland into the nearly deserted yet captivating landscapes of places off the usual tourist route, including Transylvania, Moldova, Slovenia, Romania, Ukraine and Albania. Translated from Polish, the spellbinding language captures the author’s piercing insights with painful clarity; Stasiuk refuses to soften what he sees, hears and smells, providing a dynamic postcard of his travels. Readers will be rapidly ensnared by his recounting of a curiously exotic and complex region of the world—villages where, “[i]f you took away the cars, everything would be as it was a hundred year ago,” where “monotony suggests eternity.” Peppered with haunting landscapes, the terrain contains a history of brutal wars and rapacious dictators. Driving through Slovenia, the author came across a dark valley, the largest unmarked cemetery in a country where “in the summer of 1945, Tito’s Communists murdered in this place, without a trial or witnesses, prisoners who had been handed over to them by armies of the Allies.” In Albania, the author encountered a nation lacking the resources to melt down the 600,000 bunkers built between 1944 and 1985, during the regime of Enver Hoxha. “When the highway turned toward Tirana, the bunkers began,” he writes. “Gray concrete skulls, jutting a meter above the ground, gazed with eyes that were black vertical slits. They looked like corpses buried standing.” Whether writing about gypsies, the ancient bond between beasts and humans or the threadbare currency of Moldova, Stasiuk’s language and sharp observations reveal a discerning intellect. A mesmerizing, not-to-be-missed trek through a little-visited region of the world.

 

Pub Date: June 16, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-15-101271-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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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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