Flashing fruity, then penumbral, with little surety of itself.

THE OLIVE SEASON

AMOUR, A NEW LIFE AND OLIVES, TOO

A fussy, lugubrious sequel to The Olive Farm (2001), with the actress author’s moods swinging madly from rapture to complaint to melancholy.

The meandering, distracted course these ruminations will take is evident from the opening salvo recounting Drinkwater’s wedding on one of the tiny Cook Islands in the South Pacific. Once she gets back to her Provençal olive farm, the scene is all juniper and lavender and a baby on the way, with plenty of ripe prose: “The sun is rising into honeydew clouds that drift out of sight.” Then she moves on to the obligatory, endless fencing with the French bureaucracy (Drinkwater and her husband are trying to get regional certification of their olive grove) and the difficulty of getting laborers to either get on with their work or get the work done correctly. (“These apiarists are an irritatingly cranky and elusive breed.”) Drinkwater drops too many French words into the text only to translate them in the next breath (“Le figuier. The fig. Its botanical origins are uncertain but . . .”), giving it a clubfoot to go along with the anxious prose, which caroms off bee fossils, the origin of bamboo, dinner ingredients, and Napoleon's reputation. She conveys an impression of overactivity rather than attentiveness and doesn’t get a good fix on any of her subjects. A devastating miscarriage, coupled with the news that she will likely never be able to bear children, plays against the tedious backdrop of the television show Drinkwater is shooting at the time. While she grapples with her feelings, she also tackles the story of a diviner who comes to find water for their orchard expansion, perhaps the most focused episode here, and certainly the best.

Flashing fruity, then penumbral, with little surety of itself.

Pub Date: May 26, 2003

ISBN: 1-58567-235-1

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2003

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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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