A grieving mother discovers a miraculous connection with her late son.
Roud begins her debut memoir with the fateful evening when her 19-year-old son Carter was killed in a car crash. “My son, whose presence lit up a room, now lay lifeless as we left him and walked out into the blackness,” she writes in the stunning pages that describe the accident. Journal entries for the next year relate her struggle and the strange occurrences that began to happen after Carter’s sudden death: His smell would arrive suddenly in the family cottage, a physical sensation of comfort would envelop Roud, and, most curiously, Carter’s friends would say that they had received text messages, as if he were still trying to communicate with them. Trying to make sense of it all, Roud delved into meditation and reiki and sought out a medium in the belief that her son was still with her and could be reached. After months of concentration exercises and self-doubt, Roud had a breakthrough: Early one morning, she let Carter’s spirit guide the pen in her hand to scribble “I love you” on a piece of paper. Soon, this kind of otherworldly experience would become a part of Roud’s daily routine as she let Carter guide her hand toward messages of love, peace, and the afterlife that she now hopes to share with the world. Roud’s first efforts toward an otherworldly connection fit perfectly into the all-consuming anguish that she expertly conveys; when she begs Carter’s friends to show her the text messages they say her son sent, it is a heartbreaking and very human portrait of grief. The book’s second half, largely composed of writing that Roud attributes directly to Carter, will be more difficult for skeptical readers to connect with. Long discussions between Roud, Carter, and Roud’s late father about God, death, and the power of spirits venture wholeheartedly and unapologetically into the supernatural; a little more skepticism would make it easier for readers to relate to these conversations. But, the emotion that Roud conveys about both losing and rediscovering her son remains entirely believable.
An unusual but consistently poignant memoir on grief and acceptance.
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)