A riveting journey recounted by an irrepressible, highly likable narrator.

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MAN OF THE WORLD

BOOK 1 OF THE ODYSSEY EXPEDITION

A witty, resilient Liverpudlian sets out to visit every sovereign nation in the world in this travelogue.

British adventurer Hughes plans to visit every country and territory in the world. In order to satisfy Guinness World Records, he agrees to follow a few basic rules: He can’t travel by plane, nor hitchhike, nor use anything other than public transportation; he must set foot on dry land in each place; and “A visit to a far-flung territory does not count as a visit to ‘the motherland.’ ” This first installment of a planned trilogy begins on Jan. 1, 2009, on the border between Argentina and Uruguay and ends, 133 countries and 6 territories later, on Dec. 31, 2009, at the Egyptian pyramids. It covers the author’s journey through the Americas, Europe, and Africa, and it’s bursting with fascinating, hilarious, and occasionally terrifying anecdotes. While traveling across the Gulf of Mexico, he nonchalantly recounts that a yacht captain used “a fishing hook to put stitches in [his] head with no anaesthetic other than a bottle of scotch.” In the Congo, he’s inexplicably thrown into a prison cell that “was like somewhere you might wake up if you were a victim of the Jigsaw Killer” in the movie Saw. Yet the mood is almost always upbeat, and readers will succumb to Hughes’ deliciously blunt humor: “the fact that I still hadn’t suffered the squits the entire journey…only goes to prove that my DNA should be extracted and cloned in order to create the race of ginger super-soldiers that will one day RULE THE WORLD.” The book is made even more amusing by editor’s notes that occasionally translate the author’s Liverpool slang: “Helga rustled up some scouse (Liverpool stew) for me to eat and it was proper boss la….Editor’s Note: Apparently in Liverpool this means really good.” The straightforward, chronological approach leaves little time for evocative description, but it adds to the urgency as the author visits country after country. It’s also carefully illustrated with maps and information cards throughout. Readers will be eager to read the next book in this series.

A riveting journey recounted by an irrepressible, highly likable narrator.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62613-081-4

Page Count: 332

Publisher: ATBOSH Media Ltd.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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