Bryson is a real traveler, the kind of guy who can be entertained by (and be entertaining about) a featureless landscape...

IN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY

Just in time for Sydney’s upcoming Olympic games, this travel narrative from veteran wanderer Bryson (I’m a Stranger Here Myself, 1999, etc.) provides an appreciative, informative, and hilarious portrait of the land Down Under.

“And so once more to the wandering road,” declares Bryson—which is music to the ears of his many deserving fans. This time it is Australia, a country tailor-made to surrender just the kind of amusing facts Bryson loves. It was here, after all, that the Prime Minister dove into the surf of Victoria one day and simply disappeared—the prime minister, mind you. There are more things here to kill you than anywhere else in the world: all of the ten most poisonous snakes, sharks and crocodiles in abundance, the paralytic tick, and venomous seashells that will “not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you.” A place harsh and hostile to life, “staggeringly empty yet packed with stuff. Interesting stuff, ancient stuff, stuff not readily explained.” And Bryson finds it everywhere: in the Aborigines (who evidently invented and mastered oceangoing craft 30,000 years before anyone else, then promptly forgot all about the sea), in the Outback (“where men are men and sheep are nervous”), in stories from the days of early European exploration (of such horrific proportions they can be appreciated only as farce), and in the numerous rural pubs (where Bryson learns the true meaning of a hangover). Bryson is still open to wonder at the end of his pilgrimage: the grand and noble Uluru (once known as Ayer’s Rock) reaches right down into his primordial memory and gives it a stir. “I’m just observing that if I were looking for an ancient starship this is where I would start digging. That’s all I'm saying.”

Bryson is a real traveler, the kind of guy who can be entertained by (and be entertaining about) a featureless landscape scattered with “rocks the color of bad teeth.” Fortunately for him and for us, there’s a lot more to Australia than that.

Pub Date: June 6, 2000

ISBN: 0-7679-0385-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

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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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