It would be hard to think of a more casual or disarming writer than John Cheerer whose stories — this is his first collection in nine years — begin with those marvelously underhanded first lines: "The subject today will be the metaphysics of obesity, and I am the belly of a man named Lawrence Farnsworth" or "Reminiscence, along with the cheese boards and ugly pottery sometimes given to brides, seems to have a manifest destiny with the sea." Thus one is launched into a world of myth or illusion or just suburban conformity — there's a new St. Botolphs story where people are once again living "with composure, lives of grueling boredom" — sometimes interrupted by a rogue impulse ("Mr. X. defecated in his wife's top drawer" — or the Cabot daughter who ran away with her mother's ugly seven diamond rings "as glamorous as a passbook"). There's no demonic horror on the lawn or anywhere else this time but another kind of contemporary disfigurement in "Mene, Mene, Tekl, Upharsin." And the title story is about a famous expatriate Nobel prize poet overcome in his old age by an unseemly lewdness. Be it admitted that none of these stories have the memorability (dreadful, debased, unavoidable word) of Cheerer's country husband or his cross-country swimmer but . . . but me no buts. . . all those pleasurable constants are there the bitter lemon nostalgia, the affectionate and truly moral concern, and above all that skewed element of surprise which makes the Cheerer story a rara avis — a bird that can fly on one wing if necessary.

Pub Date: May 1, 1973

ISBN: 0736608265

Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

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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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