An engaging, passionate book that leaves some lingering metaphysical questions unanswered.

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MAGNIFICENT SORROW

A MEMOIR OF TWO LIVES

Horsley’s (Between the Legs, 2015) biography/memoir curiously intertwines the lives of two women, separated by half a century.

On April 9, 2000, Horsley’s only child, 19-year-old Aaron Heath Parker-Davis, was walking home from work in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when he was struck and killed by a passing car. It took more than 17 years for the author to bury his ashes in the New Mexico desert. During her years of grieving, she came across pieces of information about a stranger who’d died many decades earlier—Suzette Ryerson Patterson, the daughter of one of Philadelphia’s Main Line high society families. Horsley began seeing unusual similarities between events in her own life and Suzette’s, which led her to contemplate the possibility of cosmic connections. For example, on April 9, 1912—exactly 88 years before Aaron’s death—Suzette and the Ryerson family, vacationing in Paris, received a cable informing them that Suzette’s beloved 19-year-old brother Arthur had died in an automobile accident. The family immediately arranged to return home aboard the first ship available: the RMS Titanic. From a lifeboat, Suzette watched her father go down with the ship on April 14—the same date that Aaron’s memorial service was held, 88 years later. By her own admission, Horsley, a writer and community college teacher, became obsessed with learning everything she could about Suzette’s short but remarkable life, which included years as a volunteer nurse on the front lines during World War I. The author’s dogged research led her to contact the few remaining members of Suzette’s extended family, peruse newspaper articles and letters that the woman wrote to her mother, and gain access to family photos—many of which she reproduces here. The overall result is a poignant and often riveting historical work, interspersed with Horsley’s emotional, first-person account of her painful search for peace in the face of tragedy. In the portions that focus on Suzette’s life, the author also offers vivid accounts of the horror of the Titanic’s sinking, the trauma of the World War I, and, not incidentally, the extravagant lifestyles of the wealthy elite.

An engaging, passionate book that leaves some lingering metaphysical questions unanswered.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949652-06-2

Page Count: 308

Publisher: Mercury HeartLink

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2020

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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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