A genial companion for the armchair traveler.

EUROPE ON 5 WRONG TURNS A DAY

ONE MAN, EIGHT COUNTRIES, ONE VINTAGE TRAVEL GUIDE

A clever idea for a travel book, executed engagingly though inconsistently.

Perhaps the first book by Minneapolis-based freelance writer Mack might best be considered a meta–travel book, a book about travel books, one in particular, and how it all but created the all-American practice of tourism while catering to it. The book that inspired this one is Frommer’s Europe on Five Dollars a Day, first published in 1957 and discontinued a half-century later as Europe on $95 a Day). The author found a copy at a book fair, bought it for a dime and discovered that it was something of a talisman for his mother, who used it on her own European travels before marriage. So the author decided to tour Europe using only this ancient, outdated book as a guide, ignoring all updates, successors and the advent of the Internet, doing his best to go, eat and stay where Frommer had advised (knowing that his expenses will extend well past $5 per day). The problem with this concept is that most of those places have closed over the years since the book was published, and the few that remain are either booked (by folks planning ahead with that pesky Internet), radically changed and/or out of Mack’s price reach. The author intersperses his travel adventures (which generally are no more unusual or entertaining than anyone else’s) with notes from his mother’s trip and some higher-concept musing about the impact of Frommer, the changes in travel in general and the changing notion of “tourist” from populist phenomenon to something of an epithet. In the process, Mack offers “cheers, too, to the beaten path; it’s beaten for a reason” and learns “to embrace the cliché.” He writes of Frommer, “he was to travel as Julia Child was to food: the public figure who arrived at just the right cultural moment and said, with a light but nurturing tone, ‘You can do this. It’s not that hard. Here’s how.’ ”

A genial companion for the armchair traveler.

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-53732-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Perigee/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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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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