Of interest, if a bit warmed over and not entirely satisfying at times.

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VIRTUE SIGNALING

Marking the 20th anniversary of his blog, the bestselling science-fiction author gathers posts from 2013 to 2018.

Scalzi (Head On, 2018, etc.) is never shy about speaking his mind. A socially liberal independent and self-declared “Rockefeller Republican” who no longer votes for the GOP on the national ticket, he includes several posts on the buildup to the 2016 election as well as some composed during the Donald Trump era. The previously topical pieces, particularly those written when it was assumed that Hillary Clinton would become president, taste bitter and are not exactly useful now that their moment has passed. But there are also a number of strong posts on being a feminist ally and the evils of harassment, assault, and prejudice of all kinds. (His 2014 post on Jian Ghomeshi has taken on fresh relevance now that the disgraced Canadian media personality has resurfaced.) The other posts filling out the book include film reviews and musings on pop culture; anecdotes from Scalzi’s past that express his deep love for his family, friends, and felines; and some extremely useful bits of life advice sparked by current events (the one about how to make a sincere apology is particularly clear and helpful). The author is skilled at distilling liberal anger into cogent arguments and talking points. Sadly, his posts regarding politics in the science-fiction community have been omitted from the book. Perhaps he doubted their wide appeal, but given that his readers are likely part of that community, it seems a shame that he failed to include any of those posts, particularly the ones regarding harassment at conventions, which many regard as helping to set new policy. The blog-post format can also feel abrupt on the printed page. However, what the book suggests is that it would be interesting to see Scalzi write a series of long-form, wider-ranging essays on evergreen topics. Perhaps he might also share more about his writing process.

Of interest, if a bit warmed over and not entirely satisfying at times.

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59606-894-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Subterranean Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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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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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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