This book’s heft may intimidate novices, but these pieces of advice will be useful for anyone who’s ever wanted to know more...




Laughren (The Beer Drinker’s Guide to Knowing and Enjoying Fine Wine, 2012) offers a guide to getting more out of your wine-drinking experience.

The author writes that the “one constant” of wine appreciation is “realizing the impossibility of ever mastering this vast subject.” He’s no stranger to convincing readers that oenology is for everyone, and with this new book, he casts a very wide net, packing a great deal of history, geography, personal experience, and advice on refining one’s palate into short chapters. Laughren’s 50 suggestions include creating a country chart in order to keep track of all the wines one has tried (or wants to try); visiting a winery in person; and drinking with people from other countries. Along the way, he addresses the smallest associated details (“Stemless glasses? Get rid of them”) and introduces subjects that even self-proclaimed aficionados might not know about, such as the special kvevri wines of Georgia, which are made using ancient techniques. Along with the advice, Laughren takes every opportunity to share his vast knowledge about a subject that he obviously loves to study. For instance, the simple tip “Take Notes” is indeed a sound idea for novices, but the author uses it as a springboard to go further afield, addressing the different flavors and smells that one should attempt to identify during wine-tasting. As a result, the chapters can become dense; indeed, the work as a whole might have been more interesting if it were organized thematically or as an encyclopedia. Still, Laughren’s mastery of the subject is impressive, and it shines through on every page. Those who take the time to follow his fascinating digressions are sure to find something new and delicious.

This book’s heft may intimidate novices, but these pieces of advice will be useful for anyone who’s ever wanted to know more about wine.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9855336-3-2

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Crosstown Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2018

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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

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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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