WORKING DAYS: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath

A pleasant trove of work notes released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath. Editor DeMott (English/Ohio Univ.) accidentally dug up this brief manuscript material while researching another book on Steinbeck. It's presented here with copious critical apparatus, including introduction, commentary, critical notes, and illustrations (not seen). In fact, there is more spectacle than event to the finished product. Steinbeck's journal "entries" are mostly short, rushed notes exhorting himself to finish the book. They explain little about Grapes, and reinforce the impression of skeptical critics that he mechanically plodded through the novel filling average people with clichÇd speech. More compelling is Steinbeck's anxiety over external obstacles that arose during the book's five-month composition (June-October 1938), which shows him losing almost all control and confidence. He began the journal and novel shortly after the death of his brother-in-law, was constantly bothered by loan-seekers and self-doubt, and worried over everything from Hitler's war maneuvers to the sale of his house. "Did ever a book get written under such excitement," he writes, and collapses into disappointment when finished: ". . .it isn't the great book I had hoped it would be. It's just a run-of-the-mill book." Admirably compiled and annotated by DeMott, and a must for Steinbeck fans, this is an otherwise modest literary treat.

Pub Date: April 14, 1989

ISBN: 0140144579

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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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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