A wordy overview of complex concepts that’s not for the casual reader.

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AQUAPISCES

REACH FOR THE BALANCE

A voluminous, detailed text on ayurvedic alternative medicine, astrology, yoga, and other related subjects.

In his latest book, herbalist and astrologer Bhattacharyya (Tepid Blue, 2016, etc.) asserts that “astrology, herbal wellness,” and other alternative practices “can narrow down [health] predictions accurately, confirm a diagnosis and offer supplements to a cure prescribed by a registered-practitioner on a multitude of mind and health problems.” The author bases his approach on the ideas of the “ancestors,” referring to those who studied and practiced astrology, ayurveda, and Chinese medicine in the past. He describes a holistic approach to wellness that takes into account not only physical well-being, but also emotional and mental health, diet, and even the seasons. Much of the book is devoted to astrology, which the author frames as “an extra pair of eyes” that can help one evaluate a malady and inform caregiving decisions. (The titular term “AquaPisces” refers to a “changeover” from the astrological Pisces era to the Aquarius era.) The book also includes many remedies, including massage, the consumption of herbs and other foods, and music therapy. Explanatory text makes use of colorful stories and occasional, useful metaphors (“Mantras mention the secret depths where medicines are found in the oceans. Metaphor of knowledge as ocean is a common occurrence in the [ancient Indian] Vedas”). Unfortunately, the presentation of information isn’t always reader-friendly. For example, the book is filled with terms that will likely be unfamiliar to most Western readers, including the various types of “dosha” (biological humors) and their numerous subtypes. At one point, the author notes in a story that “the intrigued students felt lost in the labyrinth of words and wellness verbiages”—a phrase that aptly describes the experience of readers of this book, as well, who may need to employ lengthy, intense study to fully comprehend and digest all of its information. There are quite a few tables and diagrams, but a glossary would have been helpful.

A wordy overview of complex concepts that’s not for the casual reader.

Pub Date: July 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9978887-1-3

Page Count: 494

Publisher: Devb Inc

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

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

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

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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