A passionate call to recognize and reignite spiritual wonder in the lives of Christians.

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FOUR DEGREES OF WONDER

EXPLORING THE MANY WONDER-FILLED WAYS GOD BREAKS INTO OUR LIVES

An inspirational manual revolves around the concept of wonder in Christianity.

This nonfiction debut concentrates on the wonder of God, first breaking the emotional phenomenon down into four “degrees” or subcategories—curiosity, delight, “his tender presence,” and awe—and then examining each in turn. Wells, who grew up in a religious household and experienced a born-again faith, stresses her desire to communicate these uplifting facets to her readers. “My prayer is that you will remember with joy your own times of wonder,” she writes, “and that you become hungry to find new doorways into delight and spontaneous worship.” This note of the ecstatic, jubilant nature of Christianity is struck repeatedly here and deftly traced through a wide array of sources and allusions, from other contemporary Christian inspirational books to blogs to great literature and art to stories from the author’s own life. The theme is one of unification. Citing St. Paul, Wells urges her fellow Christians to observe that theirs is a shared joy, that the Holy Spirit can unite them in faith if they remain open to the calling. The author herself remains open in the course of her book, often following digressions and whims to see where they’ll take her and how they might reinforce her central messages. At one point she fancies the phrase “love is a many-splendored thing,” looks up its origin on Wikipedia, traces it to a 1950s novel, follows that thread to the movie adaptation starring William Holden and Jennifer Jones, and finally learns that the two stars hated each other. “So much for portraying the splendor of love!” she wryly concludes before smoothly moving on with her main narrative—a relentless series of excited revelations. Each section concludes with useful questions designed to help readers discover those same kinds of visions. The intensely personal tone is ultimately very winning.

A passionate call to recognize and reignite spiritual wonder in the lives of Christians.

Pub Date: April 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-973624-66-0

Page Count: 178

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2018

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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