For Palahniuk, the more acute the angle the better, but his is another solid entry in the Crown Journey series, with its...

FUGITIVES AND REFUGEES

A WALK IN PORTLAND, OREGON

Novelist Palahniuk (Lullaby, 2002, etc.) squires readers through Portland at its outlandish best.

The author moved to the city fresh out of high school, like others who went west and fetched up in the cheapest city they could find. “This gives us the most cracked of the crackpots,” says Palahniuk, citing a theory suggested by a friend, “the misfits among misfits.” In a city of the strange and fugitive, it stands to reason that there’d be many odd entertainments, and Palahniuk reports upon a mighty selection. In cool stride, he marvels at the oral storytelling talents of those before the eviction court, gazes at the world’s largest hairball (2½ pounds of solid calcium and hair), stands in awe before the holdings of the vacuum-cleaner museum, encounters the “spirit orbs” (“glowing balls of light that hover and veer”) of 58 messengers from the beyond, and recommends places to get lucky on the sex front, including the Dirty Duck Pub (“for you fans of big men with hairy backs”). Not all is peculiar: Palahniuk reminds us that Portland is a city of gardens, has a crack toy museum, and claims shops where you can get used clothes, used magazines, and chunks of recycled architectural details. But he’s far happier taking a ghoulish tour of the city’s fabled tunnel system: “Down tunnel after tunnel the rope pulls you past scenes of incest and torture. . . . [In] the pitch dark, a crowd of strangers rush the tour group, groping their breasts and genitals. . . . Did I mention the big legal waiver everybody signed?” Tucked into the proceedings are “postcards” from Palahniuk’s own experiences with the city: getting beaten as the victim of a wilding, for instance, or attending the Apocalypse Café, where “the idea is, we’re going to the first potluck after a nuclear holocaust.”

For Palahniuk, the more acute the angle the better, but his is another solid entry in the Crown Journey series, with its premium on deep-dish subjectivity.

Pub Date: July 8, 2003

ISBN: 1-4000-4783-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2003

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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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