An unlikely source delivers a variety of life lessons.
In his nonfiction debut, Meyer draws on his 14 years as the owner of a funeral home in order to distill lessons about life he’s learned from people dealing with death. His experiences have sprawled all over the map: “I have seen horrific, absolutely horrific, things, smelled smells that are unimaginable, cried with friends and strangers, and witnessed unspeakable tragedy, heartache, and death all too often for one human being.” In fast-paced and involving chapters, the author mixes stories from his long experience of coping with grieving and personal vignettes to create a big picture view of the important things in life. He recounts winningly honest personal experiences, including, of course, the time he moved to Northern California and bought a funeral home. “In my eyes,” he reflects, “there is no greater time to grow and become strong than when you have no other option—the last resort.” He gives advice on 20 major turning points or elements in life, from loving your parents and falling in love to coping with heartache, encountering health setbacks, and enduring inevitable aging. He urges his readers to work hard to avoid boring rituals. “If your day becomes routine,” he writes simply, “your life will be shorter.” And he relates each of these turning points to a period in his own life or the experiences of his customers over the years at the funeral home. Many of these tales are touching and some are funny (for instance, the widow who wanted her professional clown husband to be buried in his clown suit). And all are followed by “Reminders,” key takeaway points like “Take risks”; “Without failure, how can you appreciate success?”; and “Your gut is the greatest barometer you will ever have.” Meyer’s approachable writing style guarantees that readers will be both moved and entertained.
A funeral director’s heartfelt, poignant, and vivid insights into what makes life worth living.
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)