An analysis of the challenges of making friends in the modern world.
Vellos has trained as a facilitator and conducted hundreds of hours of workshops on building communities and forming adult friendships, and in her nonfiction debut, she attempts to break down the nature of friendship in the “always on” 21st century—its roots, its potential obstacles, its most familiar patterns, and some strategies for its improvement. The stakes have never been higher, she says: “the average American hasn’t made one new friend in the last five years.” And the price for this trend is steep: Loneliness and isolation place enormous stresses on the body and the mind. Vellos distills her wide reading and dozens of interviews on the subject into an assessment of what she terms “platonic longing,” the desire felt by increasing numbers of people for the simple joys of close friendship. She addresses her book to readers who’ve found they have nobody with whom to share moments of pain, confusion, or joy—to those, for example, who’ve gone on a dating app and wondered if it might work if they’re looking only for friendship or who have tried friend-matching apps too and found that the great connections they promised haven't materialized. She outlines many approaches to the complexities of friendship, from upping “your dosage” (simply trying to create more friendship time with friends you already have) to practicing greater honesty when meeting potential friends. Throughout she focuses on the basics of friendship that writers from Cicero to Norman Vincent Peale have stressed: openness, flexibility, and, most of all, commitment. “No amount of ‘I really like you too’s’ will convince someone that you want to be friends if you don't take actions to make time and space for them in your life,” she says. The sheer amount of energy and inventiveness on display in these pages, engagingly written and illustrated by the author, will give even the most jaded some hope for more friendships in the future.
A heartfelt and winningly optimistic guide to understanding—and finding more—friendship.
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").
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)