A no-nonsense organizational guide that strives to demystify end-of-life planning. Life's final chapter doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but Anderson's debut guide certainly comes close. This no-frills book tackles every step of the often-overwhelming and stressful process of end-of-life planning, from advice about where to store extra keys to choosing the executor of a will. The manual provides fill-in-the-blank forms to help keep useful information like bank account numbers and family members' addresses in one place, and the guide's step-by-step format makes writing a will and planning funeral arrangements seem much less daunting (although a lawyer is still recommended). Although the information is nothing new—you don’t need a copy of this book to know that you’ll need to make arrangements to give away your pets, for instance—having these details all in one comprehensive package is an effective way to streamline the information that family members will need to know if the unthinkable happens. As a how-to guide, this is an informative read, but it doesn’t delve into deeper, more personalized instructions, like what to do if you own a large business. “I don’t intend to walk down the yellow brick road with you on that one,” Anderson writes in a passage about publicly held corporations. At times, the manual falls flat when the author delves into personal anecdotes. “My father kept everything in its original envelope in the drawers of his desk,” he recalls in an otherwise instructional passage about how to file paperwork. “He knew what was what but my poor mother had no idea.” But these momentary digressions don't take away from the overall helpfulness of this book, which streamlines overwhelming tasks and attempts to make them slightly easier to swallow. Although death is never an easy topic to broach, the guide serves as a handy tool to make gargantuan tasks feel far more manageable. This useful how-to guide helps keep personal information organized and in one place—but it’s no substitute for a lawyer.
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)
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").