An engaging account of a gay man who fervently wishes to start a family.

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AN ADOPTION AND A MEMOIR

A gay Hollywood couple struggles through a custody dispute after adopting a baby in this debut memoir.

Barnz had always had a strong desire to be a parent. After settling into a long-term relationship with his partner, Daniel (complete with a commitment ceremony in the Hamptons), they decided to adopt a baby. Through their attorney, they were connected to Emma, a young woman in Minnesota who was seven months pregnant. They nervously got through an initial phone call with her, desperately hoping she would choose them as the new parents. In the end she did, so they flew her to Los Angeles, put her up in an apartment, and arranged for doctor visits. Emma seemed fairly happy about the situation, and the bond between the three began to grow. Baby girl Zelda was born, a healthy and adorable arrival. But Barnz’s world came crashing down when an email arrived from the couple’s adoption lawyer. The birth father, Liam, was thinking of petitioning the court for custody. Emma had dated Liam only briefly, wanted nothing to do with him, and she noted that he did not want to be a part of the child’s life until now. Barnz was haunted by the thought that Zelda could be taken away, and his fears were magnified when Liam did in fact contest the adoption. Emma returned to Minnesota, and Barnz and Daniel anxiously awaited news from the lawyers as the fate of their new family hung in the balance. The author’s concise memoir offers a compelling account of the anxieties that can accompany an open adoption process when a previously absent party suddenly appears. The volume skillfully details the couple’s unquestionable commitment to the baby and their admirable desire to have a strong relationship with the mother. It’s an apolitical affair (their status as a same-sex couple is not an issue), but flashbacks to Barnz’s early years in New York give a fuller picture of what makes the author tick. Income remains a mystery; Barnz never goes to work (there is a fleeting reference to designing handbags and an unproduced screenplay by his partner), yet the couple can handily afford the birth and the lawyers who deftly carry them through the crisis. Still, this is an honest and ultimately endearing book.

An engaging account of a gay man who fervently wishes to start a family.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-948018-21-0

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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