A useful, reader-friendly guide to one of life’s most daunting chores.



Planning on dying? We all should, and this handy primer provides guidelines for properly writing a will.

In this debut, Turner, an estate attorney, warns of the problems that crop up when one dies without a last will and testament; for example, state law could give the house that you lived in with your current spouse to your children from a former marriage. He advises writing a so-called “holographic will”; it’s a legal term, not for a shimmery, 3-D image but for a will that’s written out entirely by hand. Because it can be authenticated by comparing it to handwriting samples, it doesn’t usually need witnesses or lawyerly vetting, making it the least expensive option for people with modest, uncomplicated fortunes (in the 26 states that allow it). Turner shows how to craft a will that does what one wants while also avoiding the ambiguities and pitfalls that can tie an estate up in court. He covers the basics along with advanced topics, such as how to list bequests of tangible belongings so that there’s no squabbling over who gets what; how to specify a guardian for children or prevent an 18-year-old from blowing his inheritance; how to deal with the possibility that your spouse could die with you in a car crash; how to provide for a pet; and how to bequeath your gun collection without getting your executor arrested for illegal firearms transfers. Turner deals with these niceties and others in concise, no-nonsense prose; for example, he notes that specifying funeral arrangements in a will is a bad idea because “By the time someone locates your will and the executor takes the necessary steps to start acting on behalf of your estate, you will be long buried.” He also provides checklists, model clauses, and complete sample wills; these cover a multitude of contingencies from the bare-bones “Tangible list, spouse, adult children” case to a convoluted “Divorced, Tangible List, Specific Bequests, Residence Sold, Residue to Charity” case. The clear advice and specific language will give readers confidence in drafting their own wills.

A useful, reader-friendly guide to one of life’s most daunting chores.

Pub Date: Jan. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4808-5710-0

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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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 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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