HOW I GET THROUGH LIFE

A WISE AND WITTY GUIDE

Actor and sometime author Grodin, droll to the brink of dull, presents some afterthoughts to his previous outing (It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here, 1989). In miniature essays, evidently written in airports and hotel rooms, Grodin offers his Philosophy of Life, step by pedestrian step. Judging from his vagrant musings, he's a nice guy in a tough world. The inspirational little pieces tend to sound like a peculiar blend of ``Dale Carnegie Goes to Hollywood (After His Bar Mitzvah)'' and sound bites from Dame Edna Everage. With his classic straight-faced delivery, Grodin, on the topic of ``being friendly,'' wonders: ``What must your average man and woman, who weren't in the movies, [have felt] if I, who was playing leading roles in movies, felt less than well treated?'' His notions are not likely to start controversy. On etiquette: ``I'd rather people just be nice and let it go at that.'' On criticism: ``If we could change half the things wrong with us, the world would be a noticeably better place.'' There are, to be sure, certain revelations befitting a celebrity's work. For example, Grodin tried writing for Michael Dukakis. And he gets all his clothes from the wardrobe department, either free or at half price (``It depends on how they feel about me when the movie's over''). Braggarts, litigation, and ``classical Muzak'' drive the author ``nuts.'' On the other hand, he is forthrightly in favor of honesty, understanding, and, generally speaking (which is his way), goodness. It's all quite affable, and one must have a genial regard for a writer who ingenuously declares that ``Nobody's perfect, especially me and you, so let's not sweat the small stuff.'' Likely to be charmingly promoted on the talk-show circuit, this performance by a fair-to-middling raconteur is what, in the old days of the movies, would have been called a ``programmer'': pleasant enough, but no Academy Award nominee.

Pub Date: April 20, 1992

ISBN: 0-688-11258-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1992

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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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