An intrepid, educational, and thoroughly enjoyable voyage.

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AN INEXPLICABLE ATTRACTION

MY FIFTY YEARS OF OCEAN SAILING

A live-aboard sailor recalls five decades and 300,000 nautical miles at sea in this debut memoir with an environmentalist edge.

Forsyth admits that he’s partial to the idea of escape. For starters, he escaped working in the cotton mills of Lancashire, England, by going to university and then joining the Royal Air Force. When his squadron was disbanded, he escaped England for Canada, emigrating in 1957 with his future wife, Edith. Soon, sailing also became a form of escape in itself. He and Edith had their first taste of it in 1961, chartering two bunks on a 78-foot ketch sailing around the tropics. After crewing on a number of other vessels, the couple purchased their first boat, Iona, in 1965. The memoir then documents the building and captaining of Fiona, a 42-foot cutter upon which Forsyth would do most of his travels. There were many breathtaking voyages, including two global circumnavigations and trips to the Arctic and Antarctic, the Baltic Sea, and the Panama Canal, among others. The memoir is also a tender love letter to Edith, who died in 1991. The tone of the book is likable from the outset; Forsyth is knowledgeable, earnest, and endearingly modest given the magnitude of his achievements. His sense of understatement is typified in his account of meeting the prime minister of Tonga: “As I sauntered up in my scruffy shorts and t-shirt, the Prime Minister was handing out long service medals to local officials. Despite my appearance, I was invited to the official luncheon, which was already laid out on the grass, covered with lace to keep the flies off.” Yet beneath Forsyth’s affable raconteurship lies a vital message, as during 50 years of sailing, he’s witnessed an alarming change to the environment: “I have often wondered which societies that I have visited by boat would be able to survive in a post-fossil fuel age.” This is a lovingly compiled work, with charts and photographs that effectively complement the narrative. It will be a joy for anyone familiar with deep-water sailing and an inspiration for those eager to try it.

An intrepid, educational, and thoroughly enjoyable voyage.

Pub Date: March 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-83925-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Yacht Fiona

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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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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