A positive remembrance and a highly useful guide.




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.

A positive remembrance and a highly useful guide.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63491-382-9

Page Count: 110

Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

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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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