A mind-opening guide to self-improvement.

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HOW LOVE WINS

THE POWER OF MINDFUL KINDNESS

A 12-step program that aims to guide readers to a kinder life.

“Life tends to go better when we are mindful throughout the day,” writes Carnine (Saint Badass, 2017) in his latest book. But in these pages, he also seeks to broaden the typical ambit of Eastern philosophy’s “mindfulness” with a new term, “kindfulness”—an outward-reaching manifestation of mindfulness’s inward search for serenity. “If mindfulness is how we can ‘be’ in the world,” Carnine asserts, kindfulness is what we can “do”: “being kindful frees people from the often-unpleasant need for distractions that can lead to addictions and violence,” he writes. In 12 steps, the author elaborates on the intriguing connection that he makes between distraction (or “mind-wandering”) and toxic, destructive behavior. The cycle of kindfulness, readers are told, “can soften our deep unhappiness, but quickly eliminating it is rare. Unhappiness during difficult times is our unavoidable teacher for how to be mindfully kind as best we can.” At various points, Carnine turns readers’ attention to negative emotions, such as anger and frustration, and urges them to employ “the Three Breath method” to sap their power. Each chapter details a successive step in achieving kindfulness and includes a “Your Turn” section to document one’s progress. Carnine strongly urges readers to meditate twice daily—once in the morning and once in the evening—and as a result, practitioners of Zen-style meditation will find his book’s path to be far easier than readers who come to the program straight from a more hectic way of life. But, as the author points out, the concept of kindness is as basic as concepts get, however elusive it often is in practice—and thus, the book’s suggestions and strategies will likely find universal application.

A mind-opening guide to self-improvement.

Pub Date: July 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9980509-2-8

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Mindful Kindness Project

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 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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