SEVEN CATS AND THE ART OF LIVING

As she profiles the cats in her life, Coudert (Go Well: The Story of a House, 1974, etc.) gleans a raft of life lessons. No idle cat fancier, Coudert had amassed seven of them. She couldn't help but think that such neat and graceful animals, creatures without gods to truckle before, living in their own universes, were onto something. ``Something of worth about the art of living was to be learned from cats,'' she reckoned, something about ``living fully, handling restraints equably, thriving on relationships.'' Something, doubtless, about always landing on one's feet. So, at her home along the banks of the Raritan River in the hills of western New Jersey, Coudert took a long, hard look at each of her cats. There is Bitty, ``undeceivably alive by being in the world instead of walking through it,'' who taught her a thing or two about the benefits of unconditional love. The tormented and withdrawn Poppy allows Coudert to digress upon one of her favorite topics—the difficulties of one person changing another's self- defeating behavior. Socksie, with as tough a start in life as Poppy, chooses not to give up on the future and remains open to the friendship of a persistent person. And Sweet William, of gentle disposition and thunderously beautiful, has a self-awareness that brings Coudert's mind to the benefits of meditation, where the internal loops of rationalizations and justifications are broken, the defenseless self exposed for a moment. There is nothing particularly new here, or with the other three cats, but to put such musings in a feline context gives them a benign freshness. If at times Coudert's ministerings have a quaintly vapid air about them, at the very least they feel genuine: little homilies, tendered with best wishes. (24 b&w drawings by the author)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 1996

ISBN: 0-446-51961-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1996

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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