A keen eye combines with an easy writing style in these chronicles of fish-out-of-water exploits and cultural...

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MEDITERRANEAN JOURNEY

A YOUNG WOMAN'S TRAVELS THROUGH 1970S EUROPE

A woman recounts her youthful years traveling and living in Europe.

Inspired by a shoebox of old letters she’d written to her mother, Eyerman (Women in the Office: Transitions in a Global Economy, 2000) recalls her footloose years during the 1970s and early ’80s in Europe and North Africa as a young woman escaping a childhood in Columbus, Ohio. She mainly went to places where she had some sort of personal connection, however tenuous, so that acquaintances could help her stay on the cheap. After a visit to Yugoslavia, she headed to Italy for three months and then moved on to France, where she found lodgings with the help of a friend’s sister and tried to get on the good side of a haughty French matriarch named Madame Gravois. From there, it was off to Spain, where a woman from Brooklyn unexpectedly appeared on her doorstep and moved in, then to Morocco, where Eyerman found a bare apartment on the Rue d’Amour above two women who turned out to be prostitutes. Soon, she departed that noisy, hot and hellish country: Young boys sifted through garbage for profit and tortured cats for fun, and she endured bad plumbing that “did not make for regular bowel movements,” especially after she contracted worms. Then it was on to Greece, including Olympia, “home of the gods and athlete’s foot,” and misunderstandings and mix-ups with the locals, till finally she returned to Spain and bought a run-down, rat-infested house for a low price. Though little of import occurs in this tale, Eyerman’s eye for detail and remorseless sense of humor help her weave a funny story about the joys and complications of travel abroad. The landscape, the characters who inhabit it, and the American expats and tourists who infest it all come alive under Eyerman’s acerbic, cynical but nevertheless forgiving eye. Like an entomologist preserving beetles in a bottle, she catalogs national quirks and peculiarities as she passes through each country and on to the next. For many readers, this pleasurable read will beat the expense and hassle of actually traveling.

A keen eye combines with an easy writing style in these chronicles of fish-out-of-water exploits and cultural misunderstandings, all seasoned with plenty of salty wit.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-0993867903

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Dex Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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