SKIN

TALKING ABOUT SEX, CLASS AND LITERATURE

Allison (Bastard Out of Carolina, 1992, etc.) has assembled a nourishing compilation of articles and essays about being ``queer in a world that hates queers...poor [in] a world that despises the poor'' and a passionate writer and lover of literature. Written during the past 11 years, the two dozen pieces cover territory that has become central to Allison's writing: the ``deep and messy waters of class and sexual desire,'' prejudice, family, strong women, childhood sexual and emotional abuse, loss, love, betrayal, self-hatred, and self-definition. Taken as a whole, they offer instructive accounts of her various journeys to personal, political, and literary awareness. All the writings are punctuated by the author's signature blend of ruthless candor, rueful wit, and unfailing wisdom. The collection's new material (some of its best) focuses on how books helped her survive and escape poverty and hopelessness and ultimately reinvent her life. Strong chapters include Allison's tribute to her mentor, Bertha Harris; a ``personal history of lesbian porn''; a discussion of her science fiction fandom; and her impassioned speech at a gay and lesbian writers' conference in which she declares, ``I want to be able to write so powerfully I can break the heart of the world and heal it...remake it.'' If her earlier book Trash was the record of her rage, and Bastard the chronicle of her childhood, this is a document of her adult life—not the story of a tormented child or ``trashy lesbian'' bad girl so much as the mature musings of a wise woman. Much of this will be nothing new to readers of Allison's earlier books, and much has been printed before in the New York Native and elsewhere. But Skin is nonetheless a valuable record of a remarkable life and a testament to the struggles, triumphs, and growth of one bold and inspiring woman.

Pub Date: July 18, 1994

ISBN: 1-56341-045-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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