A recovering alcoholic details her struggles with drinking and her path to sobriety.
Despite being born into a “private school world of privilege and excess,” Zarse (Love and Compassion Is My Religion, 2016) began drinking in high school and eventually became an unrestrained alcoholic. The effects of her addiction were devastating: Her body began to fail her and her mind was similarly addled by years of relentless self-abuse. Finally financially destitute, she had to concede she was no longer fit to care for her young daughter, Paige. The longing to win Paige back inspired the author to finally give Alcoholics Anonymous an earnest shot, though she was skeptical of its ostentatious religiosity. But she discovered that a genuine spiritual commitment, understood as a full acceptance of and submission to God, was the only avenue to renewed health. The road to sobriety was a long and arduous one for Zarse. She found that alcohol provided a reprieve from her own mind, teeming with self-critical depredations. She also discovered she was a natural empath—she deeply felt the anguish of others—which made her an easy mark for predatory narcissists. With extraordinary candor the author recounts her harrowing attempt to clamber out of a deep hole dug through addiction and the principles that not only produced sobriety, but also mental well-being. And as she makes clear, sobriety is only the beginning—Zarse deftly discusses the rocky terrain between it and a return to the land of the living, including an absorbing account of dating sober and managing romantic heartache without the crutch of alcohol. The author’s writing ranges from informally conversational to aggressively proselytizing—she’s a true believer when it comes to AA and repeatedly (and one could say dogmatically) announces her commitment to its principles: “AA is not a theory. It is a life of sober, normal living. In recovery from my self-imposed crisis, I was asked to decide whether God is everything or nothing. God either is or He isn’t.” Nevertheless, her story is a remarkable one told with unflinching courage of the kind that played a major part in her recovery.
A brief but powerful account of overcoming addiction.
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)
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").