An impressively forthcoming reminiscence full of creative insight.



Gino recollects her 20-year romance with Mario Puzo, the author of The Godfather

When author Gino (Where Dreams Come True, 2014, etc.) first met Mario Puzo, she was 37-years-old and ending her second marriage. Puzo was 58, and his wife of more than 30 years had just died. Neither was particularly ripe for a new romance, and the differences between them—Gino lightheartedly calls them the “Romantic Patriarch and the Radical Feminist”—made their intimate connection somehow improbable. But a deep connection flourished between them nonetheless, a touchingly authentic bond that lasted for 20 years, until Puzo’s death. Mario had written The Godfather 10 years before they met and had been catapulted into the rarified air of celebrity, a cosmos she initially found daunting. He also mentored her in the “carpentry of writing”—Gino had already taken some courses and a writing workshop and had authorial aspirations of her own. Much of the remembrance recounts captivating conversations between the author and Puzo, which provide an extraordinarily candid look at the man and his work. Gino was introduced to other literary luminaries like Joseph Heller and eventually became a successful author in her own right. At the heart of the memoir is the distance between Gino’s view of love and marriage and Puzo’s, which is built not around romantic passion but the dynamic interplay of power and equality. Puzo had said: “As soon as women find out what a rip off marriage is, they won’t even want it. It’s a thankless job” and an “archaic concept especially for an independent woman.” The author’s remembrance is a loving homage not only to an affectionate partner, but also an insightful, attentive teacher. Puzo’s discussions about his demanding craft, as well as the publishing industry, supply many of the book’s highlights. Gino is a natural storyteller—her style is effortlessly anecdotal, more charmingly informal than literarily polished. Her easy wit and openhandedness make for a delightful read, especially for those interested in the elusive mechanics of writing. 

An impressively forthcoming reminiscence full of creative insight. 

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-936530-33-5

Page Count: 298

Publisher: aaha! Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



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

Did you like this book?

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?