An inviting and well-stocked greenhouse of applicable concepts from humanity’s artistic and spiritual traditions.

TENDING THE PERENNIALS

THE ART AND SPIRIT OF A PERSONAL RELIGION

A motivational work guides readers in constructing a rewarding personal religion.

When you get right down to it, the world of the arts and the realm of the spirit are not so distinct from each other. The nouns may be different (painter, pianist, Roman Catholic, Baptist) but, as the author points out, the verbs are pretty much the same: “In the heart, mind and spirit, Methodists do mostly the same things that Muslims do; actors do many things that dancers do. And further, playwrights do many things that prophets do, stage managers do many things sacristans do, and choirs sing inspirationally in both worlds.” This call to switch the emphasis from identities to acts is central to Booth’s (co-author: Playing for Their Lives, 2016, etc.) project, which is to merge readers’ creative instincts with their spiritual ones in order to reach a place of clarity and fulfillment. What follows is a series of ruminative examinations of the various ways that people have tried to access one or both of these ideals—art or God—finding commonalities and revealing the insights that various seekers have uncovered. The elements that keep reappearing are what the author calls the “perennials”: a category that includes vague but customizable ideas like rituals, traditions, and symbols. Booth advises his readers on how to cultivate these perennials in their own lives through the use of certain skills and tools, some of which riff on older, familiar philosophies (the Ten Commencements, the Seven Deadening Spiritual Misalignments). Along the way, the author provides exercises to help readers get into the proper mindset: “Assume a well-intentioned researcher follows you around for a day, observing every action.…At the end of the day, what would she say you believe?” Booth’s ideas are a hodgepodge of New Age and self-help mantras, and his narrative voice is reminiscent of that of a guru—albeit a charming one. While there is sometimes a self-satisfied cleverness to his prose—“How often do classical violinists seek to identify themselves with country fiddlers? Do mullahs get a turn in a Methodist pulpit?”—more often his approach is accessible and illuminating. He manages to present his findings not as some secret or mystery to which he holds the key, but rather as the intellectual heritage of humankind that all have access to if only they frame it in the correct way. There are moments when his personal beliefs creep onto the page in a way that feels off-putting—he’s very down on American public schools and the concept of Utilitarianism—though this is a work from which it is easy to pick and choose ideas that sound good to readers. Books of this genre are often reiterative of one another, and readers’ preferences usually have more to do with presentation than content. Booth—whose personal anecdotes seem to allude to a learned, well-traveled man of health and leisure—deftly delivers his notions, and his words read as common-sense advice freely given. The book should appeal to those looking for a soothing purveyor of ancient wisdom.

An inviting and well-stocked greenhouse of applicable concepts from humanity’s artistic and spiritual traditions.

Pub Date: May 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-578-48278-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Betteryet Press

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2019

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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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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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