Passionate writing on a plethora of topics that might have delved deeper into its positive philosophy.

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SEEKING THE FACE OF LOVE

A searing indictment of the heterosexual patriarchy and evangelical institutions that posits that true spirituality is found through love, not religion.

Bradley’s debut offers what many readers may see as a radical idea: that Jesus Christ’s message of love was ultimately hijacked by straight men in powerful religious organizations that promote inequality and impede civil rights. These institutions, he says, cultivate an atmosphere that threatens Christ’s nurturing love by empowering propagators of “dark thoughts”—including political conservatives and their “values voters.” As a result, Bradley’s book encourages a rejection of religion and dark thinkers in favor of a spirituality focused on love, self-reliance and personal well-being. Along with an introduction to this philosophy, he offers an array of commentaries on disparate subjects, including gun ownership, the benefits of meditation, the lie of the American dream, and the dangers of pornography and video games. The timeliest of these looks at the long-term effects of bullying, drawing on the author’s own experiences as a gay teenager. Although this book clearly champions the rights of the LGBT community in general, it hardly touches upon bisexual and transgender issues, instead focusing primarily on those of gay men. As is fitting for its subject matter, the book reads like a sermon, filled with fiery rhetoric and plentiful vitriol (“Barbaric violence between testosterone-driven alpha male masters is abnormal”), but it still manages to digress in an easy, conversational matter. It also includes a smattering of biblical references, along with some vague anecdotes and unsourced figures. However, for a text that focuses so heavily on love being the path to spirituality, it’s surprisingly negative. It’s clear that the author’s indignation comes from a candid place, so it is impossible not to feel sympathetic and share his outrage. But because so much of the book bristles with anger, many of its most promising ideas remain unexplored.

Passionate writing on a plethora of topics that might have delved deeper into its positive philosophy.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692301272

Page Count: 260

Publisher: Bradley House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2015

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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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