In Walker’s first book, readers are invited to join him on an autobiographical travelogue as he takes a meandering course across the heart of Canada.
Departing from Nova Scotia on the east coast, Walker drove his SUV as far north as the Yukon and as far west as British Columbia. A breezy, genial writer with an agreeable curiosity, he recalls the journey in a pleasant, conversational tone. The adventure also had a more somber side, though, as Walker—a retired attorney from Ontario and a longtime fighter for human rights—came to terms with the death of his spouse of many years. He spent the summer of 2012 healing and growing, taking a leisurely interest in the world around him: the wildlife, farmers rushing to bring their crops in before the rain, making new friends, and visiting long-absent family members. His journal entries take readers with him in the present tense, each moment unfolding as it did for him. He offers quiet encouragement to would-be travelers as well as a few handy tips on how they can head out on the road, too. With evenhanded opinions, he offers a verbal map of worthwhile sites for each place he visited, places readers will most likely wish to experience themselves, either on a long drive-about or in a day trip. The text is clean, if a bit undistinguished, and the descriptions of places, people, and events are clear and easy to understand. Most importantly, Walker’s long experience as a storefront attorney has made him comfortable around all sorts of people, and his openness to new interactions is infectious. Some travel books are about explorers dogged by disaster; this one is about an explorer of humanity. His inward journey toward accepting loss and things past is subtle and easily missed if the reader is in a hurried mood. Like Walker’s trip across Canada, the text should be enjoyed slowly.
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").
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)