Readers may not embrace Florida the way the author has, but they will understand why a humorist loves it.

BEST. STATE. EVER.

A FLORIDA MAN DEFENDS HIS HOMELAND

A breezy travelogue through swampland, strip clubs, and a retirement community reported to be rife with swingers.

As a humorist who has long found plenty of material in his adopted state, Barry (Live Right and Find Happiness (Although Beer Is Much Faster): Life Lessons and Other Ravings from Dave Barry, 2015, etc.) has come this time to celebrate Florida, though in the process, he recounts plenty of the sorts of anecdotes that have made the state such a national laughingstock. The author believes that the tide turned toward ridicule in 2000, when Florida’s pivotal role in the presidential election made the state seem particularly inept—and introduced “hanging chads” into the national parlance. Yet the more significant before-and-after where this book is concerned dates to three decades earlier, when Disney World transformed the state’s tourism in 1971. The Mouse remains the elephant in the room as Barry focuses his attention on Florida’s distinct identity as a tourist destination pre-Disney and what the behemoth has done to those attractions since. Typical is his visit to Weeki Wachee Springs, “which, of all the classic Florida roadside tourist attractions, is one of the Florida-est.” Its underwater theater and mermaid choreography may pale in comparison with the high-tech, heavily marketed Disneyfication of the state, but for those who love bargains and hate crowds, this is the Florida that Barry celebrates. “I concede that, by modern theme-park standards, it is dated, hokey and unsophisticated,” he writes. “In other words, it’s great. I mean that sincerely. Weeki Wachee is a time machine that takes you back to a different era.” The tour also encompasses the Everglades, Gatorland, and a ghost town with a haunted hotel. It ends with the back-to-back bacchanalia of an upscale Miami night club and Key West, “Florida’s Florida—the place way down at the bottom where the weirdest of the weird end up; the place where the abnormal is normal.”

Readers may not embrace Florida the way the author has, but they will understand why a humorist loves it.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-98260-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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