A debut memoir by a woman born with a congenital heart defect.
Just after Flaherty-Kizer was born in 1957, a nurse told her mother, “She’ll never live.” They said that she had a heart problem, but nobody knew exactly what it was. Not until she applied for and received acceptance to the U.S. Naval Academy, contingent upon her passing the medical exam, did she learn that she had something far more serious than the mere heart “murmur” her pediatrician surmised. A heart specialist explained that she had Ebstein’s Anomaly, in which “the tricuspid valve—the valve between the chambers on the right side of the heart—does not form correctly and thus doesn’t work properly.” She would need annual checkups but wouldn’t need surgery in the immediate future—unless she wanted to have children, because her heart wouldn’t be able to bear the strain of childbirth. She decided at that point that she would choose to adopt when the time came. Although she and her husband, Keith, were committed to a healthy lifestyle to set an example for their two adopted children, the busy schedule of everyday life caused her to stop going for annual heart monitoring. By 2012, her heart had begun to deteriorate, and two years after that, she was told that she needed surgery, which she had in May 2015; a difficult recuperation followed. In lucid, conversational prose, Flaherty-Kizer shares details of the lead-up to the operation and her recovery—including some unexpectedly funny moments, as when her hospital roommate, hindered by clutter, didn’t make it in time to the bathroom: “I rang for the nurse,” she writes, “and merely said, ‘Cleanup in aisle 8,’ ” and the two women convulsed with laughter. In this way, the author shows how an upbeat attitude helped her make her way through a very hard time in her life. The most valuable element of this slim volume, however, is its abundance of advice, such as how to select a doctor and deal with insurance companies. The author also offers additional resources and full-throated encouragement for those facing similar ordeals.
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").
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)