A vibrant and expansive anthology.

BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

A COLLECTION OF CONTEMPORARY NONFICTION

Two distinguished writers/editors gather together flash nonfiction essays from both established and emerging writers.

In this volume, Kitchen (The Circus Train, 2014, etc.), who died in 2014, and Lenney (The Object Parade, 2014, etc.) continue the work they began 20 years ago when they first began editing anthologies of the newest and best in contemporary nonfiction. The works selected for inclusion are as delightfully varied in terms of tone, style, and subject matter as they are individually unique from each other. This diversity is signaled by the opening piece, James Richardson’s “Aphorisms & Ten-Second Essays,” an experimental reflection on the nature of storytelling that interweaves random truths about daily life. While the editors do not explicitly organize the pieces according to theme, they situate them in such a way so that, and as Lenney observes, “where one writer ends, another begins.” In “What I Hear,” for example, Martha Cooley reflects on her tinnitus and how the “instruments” she hears inside her head are ultimately playing me to myself.” In the essay that directly follows it, Geeta Kothari picks up the theme of listening. In her story, the perspective shifts to a woman who has spent her whole life doing as others have told her, even when what she has heard is superstition. Part of the vigor and liveliness that characterize this volume also derive from the fact that Kitchen and Lenney include the work of new writers like Josette Kubaszyk. In her lyrical essay “Swing,” she explores a young girl’s thoughts as she examines a swing and reflects on both its previous owner and her own experiences “swooping forward, falling back, humming the rhythm of the wind.” Refreshing and often unexpected, the stories in this collection—which run the gamut from memoir to critique to meditation and more—offer insights into experiences that, as they challenge readers’ perceptions of the world, also celebrate the pain, joy, and wonder of being human.

A vibrant and expansive anthology.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-393-35099-9

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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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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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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