A LONG WAY FROM ST. LOUIE

A lovely, lyrical memoir of an African-American woman's travels through life. McElroy (Queen of the Ebony Isles, etc.; English/Univ. of Washington) is a professor and poet with a yen for travel that goes back to her youth as an army brat and has continued throughout her life. Looking back at that life now, McElroy finds much that is amusing, thought-provoking, poignant, and above all beautiful to relate to her readers. This is not so much a travelogue, as the author herself admits, as a rumination, a meditation, a poem. McElroy tells us about learning to dance in St. Louis, about her experiences as a university student in postWW II Germany, her encounters with butterflies and intestinal ailments in Mexico, the limitations of tour groups and guides (``Here is the burial place of Saint What's-his-halo, and in that crypt, What's-his-sword the Great''), the difficulty of getting to Ulcinj in Yugoslavia (``An interesting place . . . but no one ever goes there''), and the importance of a smile in Japan (``a land where everything was compact and space was at a premium''). She writes prose poems about the midnight market in Lima, Peru, and a series of lyrical pieces, ``The Moon and Malaysia,'' that flow in and out of time and space. And through it all, McElroy's marvelous sense of humor shines out and her deeply felt sense of her otherness—as an American abroad and as a black woman everywhere—colors her musings, giving them texture and depth. This is a stunning piece of writing, and a fitting summary of a life led to the fullest.

Pub Date: April 30, 1997

ISBN: 1-56689-059-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Coffee House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1997

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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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