An offbeat work that will likely provide inspiration to travel again in the future.



A nonfiction book on how, where, and why to visit places around the world.

Thompson, the author of Art and Craft: Thirty Years on the Literary Beat (2015),has written a somewhat unique travel book based on his previously published travel articles in Charleston, South Carolina’s Post and Courier. Each chapter includes an introductory essay on an aspect of travel followed by examples of places to go that relate to that topic. Along the way, the author offers challenges to conventional travel wisdom. For example, although the book is international in scope, it includes plenty of encouragement for Americans to travel in the United States. Indeed, an early chapter is about how Americans should see North America first, before venturing outside the continent—although it also emphasizes that this includes Canada, as well as the U.S., and provides an account of what to see in Quebec City. (He also includes Mexico in this section, as well.) Not everything has to be “off the beaten path”to be meaningful, writes Thompson, as plenty of intriguing things can be found in the familiar. That said, he also does justice to the well-known and lesser-known wonders of Europe and beyond, tackling the new vibrancy of modern Spain and Athens, Greece, beyond the Parthenon. There are also chapters that focus on the joys of train and automobile travel while also acknowledging the challenges of both—such as the fact that a car’s driver may find it difficult to enjoy road-trip scenery. And in a book that admittedly focuses on travel for solo adventurers and couples, he promotes the idea that family travel can also be adventurous and meaningful. There are a few flaws, though; for one, the author is somewhat inconsistent in providing travel tips in each chapter—some offer specific information on lodgings, for example, while others don’t. Also, there’s only a passing reference to the tragic history of Jewish people in the Prague area, which may strike some readers as insensitive.

An offbeat work that will likely provide inspiration to travel again in the future.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73612-640-0

Page Count: 194

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2021

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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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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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