Obsessive-compulsive disorder is no laughing matter. Unless laughter is your best defense against it.
In this slim work of nonfiction, debut writer Jordan, a longtime OCD sufferer, is by turns humorous, snarky, angry and thoughtful. This is a personal and anecdotal account of what OCD is and what it’s like to suffer from it 24/7. The book has an interesting and telling provenance. In late 2012, Jordan was at the end of his rope: dead-end job, junker car and few friends. So his friend Tony—we should all have friends like Tony—challenged him to write a book in 30 days. This is that book. In a work like this, voice is all-important. Who is this guy who has buttonholed us? Well, he’s a chatty and good, accessible writer when he’s on his game. He is likable; the reader will probably root for him. Each chapter is a sort of running commentary on the disease itself, the mental health system, therapies, others’ reactions and so forth. And each chapter ends with a particular anecdote under the heading “Great Moment in OCD History.” Some of these are horrifying (from the OCD sufferer’s point of view), but most also show the sufferer’s courage and mordant humor. The book is somewhat repetitious. We are all aware of the OCD obsession with germs, real and imagined, and compulsive hand-washing. For Jordan, public restrooms are like Dante’s lowest circle of hell. But after the third or fourth example, the reader more than gets it. Jordan, a committed Christian, has struggled to come to terms with OCD and with God. Is he angry? Well, he has been. But God, he is told, is strong enough to take a lot of abuse. And then he says, “Maybe I needed to be broken....Being broken sucks, there is no getting around it, but once you are broken, you can be rebuilt into something better.”
Tons of tragicomic wisdom packed into a short memoir.
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").
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)