OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS

A JOURNAL OF MY SON'S FIRST YEAR

Novelist Lamott (All New People, 1989, etc.) nimbly plunders stores of self-mockery in her role as a new mother and single parent. Born August 29, 1989, baby Sam is "like moonlight," and wastes no time in stealing his mother's heart with his beauty and his thin, "Christlike" feet. He and Lamott have thoroughly bonded by the time he turns into a colicky, crying, angry evening storm. Here, in regular journal entries, the author follows Sam's progress, fears for her milk supply, hates her thighs—which slap together with postpartum sag—and worries that she may be headed for collapse. She decides, in short, to give him back—to wherever he came from. He may be a baby, but he's scum. Still, Sam remains an endearing and veritable presence in these pages, but he's continuously upstaged by Lamott's wry efforts to get a grip on her ever-wavering self-esteem and her unwillingness to engage in any truth-varnishing when it comes to the ever-so-bumpy road of mothering. Through it all, Lamott's surrounded by a crazy quilt of loving folk who make the latter-day nuclear family seem quaint. Even so, the author occasionally laments that pivotal problem of single parenthood: that if she always knows where the baby is, it's because she's usually the only one around to hold him. Throughout, Lamott provides a sense of ordinary domesticity, interrupted and then rendered extraordinary by moments of peripatetic musings. One need not be a new parent to appreciate Lamott's glib and gritty good humor in the face of annihilating weariness. She'll nourish fans with her entries, and give birth to new ones as well.

Pub Date: May 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-679-42091-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1993

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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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