A charming, moral work about family life in modern America.

Let's Pretend We're Christians and Play in the Snow


Heartfelt, funny reflections on parenting and family life from a Jewish father.

Harris (Fifty Shades of Schwarz, 2013) treats readers to a book of tales that feels like sitting at a family dinner in his home. The anecdotes follow his life, from meeting his wife to the present day, covering plenty of ground in between. They have three children, two of whom were adopted from Latin America, and the middle son is gay—“just your average American family,” Harris says. The way in which their two adopted children came to join their family is lovingly and humorously detailed, as Harris delves into the experience of traveling to a foreign country, with its slow bureaucracy, in hopes of bringing home a new child. There’s the all-night screaming from his second son and the frustrating but necessary path through the court systems to speed up the adoption. Harris has led an interesting life, traveling internationally after high school and eventually making a career in the finance industry as a very young married man, but throughout the book, it’s obvious his love for his family is paramount; in fact, his family devotion has occasionally cost him career advancement. “Having reached my forties,” he says, “I wasn’t willing to advance my career by working the kind of long hours chained to a desk the way I had twenty years earlier, before I had kids, when the sacrifice seemed worth it.” Elsewhere, he amusingly conveys the titular anecdote and how Harris’ elder son convinced the family to embrace vegetarianism. Harris isn’t shy about making his opinions known or sharing philosophies and tactics that have worked for him as a father, making the book valuable beyond entertainment. The relevance of Judaism to parenting, family life and moral conduct is a recurring theme in the work, too, and Harris seems uniquely qualified to speak of a modern understanding of Judaism, as a father to children of three races and varying sexualities.

A charming, moral work about family life in modern America.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989807609

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Fifty Tales Media, LLC

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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



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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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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