A motley collection to match every mood a relentless reader might have.

THE BEST AMERICAN NONREQUIRED READING 2013

Celebrated editor and author Eggers (Hologram for the King, 2012, etc.) returns with his 12th—and final, he says—edited collection of pieces selected by student members of 826 National.

Eclectic is indeed the best word to describe this odd assembly. There are works of fiction (long, short), nonfiction (ditto), tomfoolery and earnestness—and a relentless sense of multiculturalism. There are selections about Guatemala, Cuba, Tokyo, Haiti, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Spain and numerous other locales—including the United States. Just about all socioeconomic classes appear, as well, but the focus is on those who are struggling. The final grim story takes place in a grim iron mine in a grim section of India, and earlier tales present the homeless, the deprived and the criminal—outliers of many sorts. There are lies and sex and violence and numerous manifestations of the notion that we are not a very good species. To their credit, Eggers and the students selected pieces from some sources that are generally off most general readers’ radar—BylinerStoryville and even a piece from tumblr.com. But noted periodicals are represented here, as well, including the New YorkerParis Review and National Geographic. Though many of the authors will also be new to many readers, there is a gripping bullfighting story by Karen Russell, a spy story with a graphics feature by Jennifer Egan and a snarky explanation of a term paper assignment  from the late Kurt Vonnegut Jr. There’s also an amusing tale by Nick Hornby about a bitter divorcée, a journalist who starts a column called “Bastard,” which features tales about her ex-husband. Religion appears rarely but has a prominent role in a surreal tale about a religious settlement on a West Indian island where a deep (bottomless?) hole lures some followers to take a leap of faith.

A motley collection to match every mood a relentless reader might have.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-544-10550-8

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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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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