A REASONABLE LIFE

TOWARD A SIMPLER, SECURE, MORE HUMANE EXISTENCE

Freelance writer MatÇ's diatribe on the ills of the modern world serves up little in the way of originality, trotting out and castigating well-known villains—with a little too much cuteness and way too much glibness to be taken seriously. MatÇ isn't impressed as he surveys the state of our industrial society. We are desperately short on compassion, love, and vision; we suffer humiliating and trying jobs; live lives of little modesty, wisdom, sharing, or mystery. Our priorities are haywire, our land sacked, lives squandered, alienation complete. MatÇ's prescription is to scale back, to get simple, free, and passionate. His points can make good sense, and he can be engagingly brash. Worse, he can also be insulting, with his humor sophomoric, his sense of history woefully opportunistic, his own high regard infuriating, and his rural romanticism extreme. Does MatÇ really believe that ``in any poor country, where children rarely have a toy, with shacks for homes, rags for clothes, rice and beans year in and out, their eyes glow full of life''? And he won't win many converts when he scolds, ``I realize that most of you will recoil in mortal terror at the mere thought of having torn from you the wonders of the city—Dunkin' Donuts....'' The author casts his net of derision too broadly: We are all caught up in it, regardless of viewpoint or behavior. In the end, more time is spent ranting than envisioning, and a picture of the future never emerges. If MatÇ had been able somewhat to temper his own zeal, he might have claimed his place in the call for a sane world. As it is, his many good points expire as readers leave feeling unnecessarily insulted and confused.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 1993

ISBN: 0-920256-25-2

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more