A brisk, wised-up and highly entertaining consideration of a crucial musical epoch’s many facets.

READ REVIEW

WHITE BICYCLES

MAKING MUSIC IN THE 1960S

A key producer of England’s folk-rock greats looks back at the ’60s.

Boyd may be best known for helming unforgettable albums by Nick Drake, Fairport Convention, John & Beverly Martyn, the Incredible String Band and Vashti Bunyan, but he emerges in this memoir, originally published in England in 2006, as a sort of Zelig of ’60s music. Born in New Jersey, he got his start as a concert promoter, road manager and stage manager for a variety of great folk, blues and jazz acts; the early pages of the book are filled with wonderful backstage glimpses of Lonnie Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Rev. Gary Davis, Duke Ellington and others. Working for George Wein at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, he witnessed first-hand the violent birthing of folk-rock in Bob Dylan’s controversial performance, caught in a lovely fly-on-the-wall chapter. In London, he recorded Eric Clapton and Pink Floyd in their pre-stardom days and co-founded UFO, the city’s first underground rock venue. His Witchseason Productions brought the cream of the ’60s U.K. folk-rock boom to light. Returning to the U.S. in the early ’70s, he produced a memorable documentary about Jimi Hendrix for Warner Bros. Boyd’s remembrances are delivered in cool, straightforward and self-effacing style. He’s equally at home discussing the machinations of the British music biz and the eccentricities of his oddball stable of musicians (especially the Incredible String Band and the legendary Drake, a classic introvert whose essence seems elusive even to his discoverer and longtime producer). The book unfolds in leisurely fashion and allows for engaging tangents on such topics as the joys of analog recording and the inner workings of Scientology (of which Boyd was briefly an adherent). Ultimately, the author takes a conflicted view of the radical decade; his title references the white bicycles, provided as free transportation by Amsterdam revolutionaries, that were finally stolen and repainted as the free-for-all spirit of the ’60s disintegrated.

A brisk, wised-up and highly entertaining consideration of a crucial musical epoch’s many facets.

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 1-85242-910-0

Page Count: 282

Publisher: Serpent’s Tail

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

more