A nostalgic debut memoir about marketing communications consultant Finfer’s upbringing.
Finfer delivers 13 vignettes that eloquently capture the essence of childhood, as when she writes, “Bouncing through life as best we could, being a kid could be humiliating one day, exhilarating another…with a whole lot of ordinary days thrown in between.” Her stories range from the ridiculous to the triumphant, beginning with an account of a fall she suffered while being chased by her crush during a game of tag. She comes across in these anecdotes as a mischievous kid who was willing to fib to get out of a math test and steal her neighbor’s fireworks, as long as no one got hurt. Most of these charming vignettes will be familiar to those with similar suburban upbringings: Pin the tail on the donkey was the game at every birthday party, and bringing a pet home unannounced was still a trick that every kid attempted. Each tale also highlights common childhood obstacles. In “Challenged a Bus Route Bully,” for example, Finfer recounts a timeless encounter with “bigger, older, stronger, or weirdly aggressive characters” riding the bus. She describes herself in a relatable way, as “little for my age and far from athletic, having an unusual name, wearing glasses, and sporting an exotic dental appliance,” noting that “I am a rich target for some mean-spirited stuff.” The author is consistently funny throughout this book, reminding readers that childhood bruises don’t always have to be so serious. The tales may not be profound, but they still convey some fine lessons, noting that “by getting it wrong, we find our way to the right.”
A charming, if slight, remembrance about the foibles and fun of kid life.
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)