An American woman coping with physical and emotional distress delves deeper into her Indian heritage and yoga practice in an effort to find true balance.
At this point, the tale of a single Westerner hoping to find herself by journeying to faraway India probably qualifies as a literary cliché. But Mitra’s lyrical mix of devotion and critical analysis is truly revelatory. As she tells the story of her commitment to earnestly pursuing the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Ashtanga yoga in her ancestral homeland, she never runs away from the doubt that tugs at her analytical mind. Her book also tells a sympathetic story of a young, intelligent woman actively battling her own stinging depression and chronic pain. Although she fully opens herself to the spiritual, she also fearlessly questions some of the most basic traditions of Eastern thought. Detachment, for example, is a tall order for a young woman yearning for a family, and gurus can sometimes get in the way of true insight. Mitra also doesn’t tolerate the sexism and misogyny that exist in the gutters on the road to enlightenment—realities that make traveling alone in India sound like a nightmare for women. The author tells of how she was instructed how to dress before venturing out into public in India: “It’s funny until you have to dress in that custom every day without respite to protect yourself from men’s inability to control themselves and society’s lack of expectation for them to do so, if tempted.” That tension that Mitra experiences while pursuing spiritual practice creates a compelling narrative. The book also provides real insight into the essence of yogic teachings. Overall, the fact that Mitra is able to overcome her obstacles is truly uplifting and makes for an inspirational journey.
A compelling travelogue that earnestly maps a traveler’s heart and soul.
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)