MOTHERLAND

WRITINGS BY IRISH AMERICAN WOMEN ABOUT MOTHERS AND MOTHERING

Kearns (who edited Cabbage and Bones: An Anthology of Irish-American Women’s Fiction, 1997) has assembled a delightfully diverse collection of essays (old and new) and fiction about the struggles and unique joys of motherhood, written by some of America’s finest Irish-American women writers. Two dozen stellar contributors examine motherhood in all its complexity, from the stresses of pregnancy, to the challenges of raising teenagers, to functioning as a single mother or a mother-in-law, to the difficulties of growing old and letting go. What unifies this collection is the consistent excellence of its prose and its profound respect for the mothering role. In an essay suffused with self-awareness and hypnotically spare prose, Anna Quindlen describes how her mother’s death forced her to become a mature, independent woman. Doris Kearns Goodwin writes powerfully about how her mother taught her to love books and the beauty of language. In a comedic masterpiece, Jean Kerr bemoans that her adult, unmarried “children” have yet to leave the nest: “they don’t belong to anybody else yet,” so they show up unannounced for dinner, usually carrying a bag of dirty laundry. In another hilarious essay, Martha Manning describes how she accidentally killed her four-year-old daughter’s pet goldfish, forcing her to confront the sort of absurd neurosis long associated with Woody Allen. “Mother” Jones, the legendary labor organizer, writes about her mother’s unconquerable independence and how it encouraged her budding political activism. Mary Doyle Curran and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn strike similar themes of social activism triggered by a mother’s courageous example. In the most emotionally powerful contribution, novelist Mary Gordon writes with lyrical intensity about caring for her aging, senile mother. These pieces, sad and funny and always surprising, work well individually but also form a thematically satisfying whole. A thoroughly outstanding exploration of motherhood that’s sure to delight mothers, daughters, and lovers of skillfull prose, no matter their ethnic background. (Author tour)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16565-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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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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