A hagiographic bio, of interest mainly to musicologists.




A debut biography of a key figure in the Indian classical-music renaissance.

Indian classical music is still something of a mystery to Western ears. Roy aims to remedy that with this look at a legendary practitioner of the genre. Allauddin Khan, she writes, was not only an “outstanding genius in music” but also a “unique personality in the entire realm of the arts.” From very modest beginnings in rural India, he mastered all the classical Indian instruments and became the teacher of perhaps India’s most famous musician, Ravi Shankar. “For him, each note of a ‘Raga’ [one of the melodic modes of Indian classical music] was a living entity,” Roy writes. “It seemed that when he played each of the notes, it crystallized into its own sublime form.” In a tone of utmost reverence, the author tracks Allauddin’s single-minded pursuit of musical distinction. At 8 years old, he ran away from home to perform with a musical troupe and, at 15, he deserted his new wife after an arranged marriage, taking her valuable ornaments with him as he pursued his musical dream. His dogged persistence finally paid off when a great musical guru, Wazir Khan, took him as a pupil. “He adored music with the fervor of a selfless lover,” Roy writes. The author certainly conveys the rigors of Indian musicianship—performances commonly last four to five hours—and makes a strong case for Allauddin as a key contributor to India’s “musical renaissance.” But the book is unlikely to be of interest to casual readers, largely because Roy doesn’t present Allauddin as anything more than a one-dimensional figure, nor does she place him in the context of his times. For example, Allauddin had a hot temper, but Roy glosses over it, writing that his anger was “child-like. It did not harm anyone.” Although Allauddin lived during India’s struggle for independence from Britain, the reader learns only that he was a “patriot” who “never ceased to look forward to a bright future of prosperity and glory for the motherland and her countless sons and daughters.” In this book, Allauddin’s art exists in a vacuum.

A hagiographic bio, of interest mainly to musicologists.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-1441589767

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2013

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An essential account of a chaotic administration that, Woodward makes painfully clear, is incapable of governing.


That thing in the air that is deadlier than even your “strenuous flus”? Trump knew—and did nothing about it.

The big news from veteran reporter Woodward’s follow-up to Fear has been widely reported: Trump was fully aware at the beginning of 2020 that a pandemic loomed and chose to downplay it, causing an untold number of deaths and crippling the economy. His excuse that he didn’t want to cause a panic doesn’t fly given that he trades in fear and division. The underlying news, however, is that Trump participated in this book, unlike in the first, convinced by Lindsey Graham that Woodward would give him a fair shake. Seventeen interviews with the sitting president inform this book, as well as extensive digging that yields not so much news as confirmation: Trump has survived his ineptitude because the majority of Congressional Republicans go along with the madness because they “had made a political survival decision” to do so—and surrendered their party to him. The narrative often requires reading between the lines. Graham, though a byword for toadyism, often reins Trump in; Jared Kushner emerges as the real power in the West Wing, “highly competent but often shockingly misguided in his assessments”; Trump admires tyrants, longs for their unbridled power, resents the law and those who enforce it, and is quick to betray even his closest advisers; and, of course, Trump is beholden to Putin. Trump occasionally emerges as modestly self-aware, but throughout the narrative, he is in a rage. Though he participated, he said that he suspected this to be “a lousy book.” It’s not—though readers may wish Woodward had aired some of this information earlier, when more could have been done to stem the pandemic. When promoting Fear, the author was asked for his assessment of Trump. His reply: “Let’s hope to God we don’t have a crisis.” Multiple crises later, Woodward concludes, as many observers have, “Trump is the wrong man for the job.”

An essential account of a chaotic administration that, Woodward makes painfully clear, is incapable of governing.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982131-73-9

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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100% Mariah, unburdened by filler material and written with pure heart and soul for both die-hard and casual fans.


The mega-selling singer chronicles her life via the “moments that matter.”

Carey begins with her early childhood on Long Island in the 1970s, when she used music as a form of escapism and distraction. The fearful youngest daughter of a Black father and an Irish Catholic, opera singer mother, Carey and her two siblings braved physical violence, racial prejudice, and emotional trauma within a turbulent household “weighed down with yelling and chaos.” In the late 1980s, her music career began to blossom, especially after she met and fell in love with Tommy Mottola, who was the head of Columbia Records at the time. Carey openly shares the lurid details of her controlling and emotionally abusive marriage to Mottola in the 1990s. Through her notes on the multifaceted recording process, readers will see the author’s undeniable passion and work ethic as well as her burgeoning self-confidence. Some of the most entertaining moments are encapsulated in dishy free-form anecdotes sandwiched between tales of music career honors, personal triumphs and hardships, and health problems. Carey is at her best when her outspoken personality shines through, as when describing numerous “diva” moments or her harsh regrets about the “collision of bad luck, bad timing, and sabotage” that characterized the making of her disastrous film Glitter. The author also offers appreciative commentary on Marilyn Monroe, Whitney Houston, and Aretha Franklin (“my high bar and North Star, a masterful musician and mind-bogglingly gifted singer who wouldn’t let one genre confine or define her”). Carey frankly reveals the many conflicting emotions she has experienced as a mixed-race woman both energized by and dismayed at the music industry’s cutthroat, often prejudicial landscape. “Lambs,” as her fans call themselves, will find plenty of juicy gems, including the revelation that she recorded a never-released “breezy-grunge, punk-light” album. These intimate ruminations are impressively detailed without being overly concerned with industry gossip or petty squabbles, creating a refreshingly candid celebrity self-portrait.

100% Mariah, unburdened by filler material and written with pure heart and soul for both die-hard and casual fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-16468-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Andy Cohen Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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