Open-minded fans of the crass one-liner will find much to savor, while many readers will discover that a little Rivenbark...

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YOU DON'T SWEAT MUCH FOR A FAT GIRL

OBSERVATIONS ON LIFE FROM THE SHALLOW END OF THE POOL

Snarky Southern humor essayist and columnist skewers everything from yoga to marriage to eyelashes.

Rivenbark (You Can’t Drink All Day If You Don’t Start in the Morning, 2009, etc.) has made punchy contemporary commentary her livelihood since her first collection of humor columns was published over a decade ago. Here, the author stays true to her classic comic chatter, delivering many witty and clever observations, along with plenty of overly goofy and slightly contrived duds. Sure to elicit hearty chuckles and knowing nods, Rivenbark shares lighthearted ruminations on a variety of commonplace issues and situations, many centered on fads (the “Snuggie”), health claims (dietary fiber) and the happenstance of modern life. The author hesitantly dips her feet into the yoga exercise revolution by taking a wobbly instructional class, but seems more relieved “to be somewhere for a whole hour without anybody being able to find me and ask me to do some shit for them.” She drolly posits on how much everyday life has become enhanced by personal technology but is irked by everyone’s “self-serving messages” on Twitter—unless, of course, it’s her own tweets “telling my followers that it’s time to ante up for the new book.” Some of Rivenbark’s best moments are her most self-deprecating. An attempt to coerce David Sedaris into writing a blurb (and her opinion of him when he declines) is priceless, as are descriptions of life on a book tour, bemoaning the enthusiasm of shopping-mall salespeople or how she suffers through the melodrama of Real Housewives (“middle school all over again”). The author seems genuine enough when discussing the biased kind of love pet owners bestow on dogs versus cats, but her biting satire on politics and airport security may push her trademarked irreverence overboard for more sensitive readers.

Open-minded fans of the crass one-liner will find much to savor, while many readers will discover that a little Rivenbark goes a long way.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-61420-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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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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