A cute memoir of living in India with some advice for expatriates as well.

DELIRIOUS DELHI

INSIDE INDIA'S INCREDIBLE CAPITAL

The story of the author’s move from New York to Delhi.

After living in Brooklyn for years, Prager (co-author: Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product, 2007) and his wife took up his company’s offer to move to India for 18 months. Leaving behind their Park Slope brownstone, Prager immediately fell in love with Delhi—at least for a while. “Five months later,” he writes, “I hated it.” The couple would “vacillate back and forth between the two extremes—love India, hate India, love India, hate India”—before finding a balance between the best and worst their new home had to offer. Prager structures the book as a guide for other expatriates, with chapters on food, shopping, workplace culture and transportation (especially Delhi’s traffic, about which Prager seethes). More than just a how-to guide, the book is an appealing memoir, as the author recounts his social blunders and interactions with curious neighbors. There are a few unsatisfactory moments along the way—e.g., his snarky swipes at New Yorkers and living in New York City feel dated and out of place. Prager’s wife never quite comes across as genuine, and readers learn more about her misadventures with India’s health care system than her work for a rural school trying to lift girls out of poverty. Some of the author’s “problems” may occasionally induce eye-rolling for some readers—in one chapter, he details how his need for “periodic respites from…driving past beggars and slums and sidewalk-sleeping laborers” meant taking a room in a five-star hotel so he could indulge in sushi for brunch at “one of the few places [he] trusted the fish.” These flaws aside, Prager is a solid storyteller, and the book is an enjoyable tour through an overwhelming and irresistible city.

A cute memoir of living in India with some advice for expatriates as well.

Pub Date: June 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61145-832-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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