Love eludes a hapless serial dater desperate to replicate the sparks he experienced as a wide-eyed youngster.
Not many young men would pack up and head for a far-flung honeymoon retreat in the Pacific thinking it might be a good place to find single women. The author attempted it twice. The first time he tagged along with his parents; the second, with another guy in tow. Kotkin plays his stunning ineptitude for laughs, but the joke wears thin as it becomes painfully obvious that there will be no epiphanies in the offing. Instead, the author delivers a string of banal accounts involving mismatched women mostly met online. None of these encounters approaches anything that might be considered wacky or zany (as the title of the book suggests). Among them: dating a deaf woman and discovering that communication was difficult; finding the vapid girl dull; being scared by the angry girl; feeling smothered by the clingy girl. Still, Kotkin persisted with blind dates, speed dates and non-dates. “The one thing I discovered about doing nothing when it came to finding love was that in return nothing happened,” he writes. “Nothing begot nothing. It kind of sucked.” Throughout, the author offers little in the way of self-reflection; instead, he resolved after each fruitless date to take yet another crack at it. The problem is never within, always without—even after one unsatisfied date blasted the author and his "vanilla stories."
A languid love potion best taken in limited doses.
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)