A distinctive memoir for a spiritual audience.


Guided by Divine Love

In this spiritual memoir, Haaland recounts his emigration from Iraq to America and his discovery of “Divine Orders.”

Haaland was born in Baghdad in 1955, an ethnic Kurd in the Kingdom of Iraq. During his childhood, he was witness to the coup d’état that created the Republic of Iraq, followed by other coups that placed various parties in power, culminating in the Baathist coup of 1968. The resultant violence and militarization, as well as the worsening conditions for Kurds under Saddam Hussein, led to a growing family desire for Haaland to immigrate to the United States. His emigration featured many blockages and false starts, but in 1980, Haaland finally made it to America, where he then encountered the trials of work, family, and purposefulness. A series of car accidents led to his increased spirituality, culminating in encounters with angelic beings via human “angel communicators.” Haaland is guided by voices in all things: even as he was reviewing an early copy of this book and felt the urge to make revisions, he heard a voice say, “Don’t you dare rewrite anything. You were writing from your soul while going through those difficulties. If you rewrite anything, you will be dishonoring your soul and feelings.” He attributes this editorial advice to being that of God, the angels, and his deceased mother. The book is full of the sort of coincidences that will excite the spiritually inclined while displeasing more skeptical readers. Haaland is a proficient writer, and he’s led a life that’s been fascinating and tragic, yet the supernatural filter he places over the events is so strong that the resultant book won’t be of much use to fans of literary memoir. The first half, detailing his time in Iraq, is worthwhile as a witness account, but there is little critical dissection of emotions or events, and as a result there’s little to enlighten readers who don’t share Haaland’s belief in divine instructions from the universe.

A distinctive memoir for a spiritual audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989476508

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Northern Lights ATP

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2015

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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