For wine enthusiasts and newcomers alike, a sharp gathering of writing about wine’s multidimensional, occasionally...




Novelist, screenwriter, and wine connoisseur McInerney (Bright, Precious Days, 2016, etc.) lovingly curates a collection of pieces about the making, selling, and drinking of fine wine.

In interviews, the author often admits that he feels barely ahead of readers when it comes to wine, despite having written about the stuff for venues like the Wall Street Journey, Vanity Fair, and Town & Country for more than 20 years now. Nonetheless, McInerney displays a keen, well-trained literary eye. In this anthology, he selects mostly traditional selections, with a few surprises. The book opens with “Taste,” a 1951 short story by Roald Dahl about a bet to guess the identity and origin of a glass of wine. In “A Stunning Upset,” then Time reporter George Taber chronicles the now-famous “Judgment of Paris,” in which Jim Barrett’s California-based Chateau Montelena beat highly touted French wines in an infamous 1976 contest. At the time, Barrett said, “not bad for a bunch of kids from the sticks….I guess it’s time to be humble and pleased, but I’m not stunned. We’ve known for a long time that we could put our white Burgundy against anybody’s in the world and not take a backseat.” There are wine experts in New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov’s “The Importance of Being Humble” and winemaker Kermit Lynch’s tribute to “Northern Rhône,” but there are also iconoclasts like the late Jim Harrison, who writes, “such bottles truly resonate in the memory, growing even more overwhelming as they distance themselves from the years.” Bill Buford, another larger-than-life character, witnesses a culture clash in “Burgundy on the Hudson.” Other fictions sweeten the collection with rich, sensuous writing that evokes the multifarious senses that wine awakens: selections from Rex Pickett’s Sideways (2004) and Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter (2016). The collection also includes pieces from A.J. Liebling, Maximillian Potter, and M.F.K. Fisher.

For wine enthusiasts and newcomers alike, a sharp gathering of writing about wine’s multidimensional, occasionally subversive pleasures.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8021-2883-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



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?