A born-again believer makes a diverting adventure story out of embracing her sensitivity to benevolent spirits.

A Reluctant Spirit: A True Tale of God, Ghosts and a Skeptical Christian

Berry’s intriguing debut memoir suggests that belief in the paranormal, including ghosts and psychic experiences, can be reconciled with orthodox Christianity.

Goldfield Hotel, Nevada: a haunted site if ever there was one. Berry can’t quite believe she has agreed to come here, through her public relations role, to serve as an impartial observer for a TV station's paranormal investigation. “A good Christian woman…wouldn’t have put herself here to dabble in the occult,” she chides herself. Yet Berry had long been receptive to supernatural experiences—whether church-sanctioned or not. Her strong Christian faith sustained her through 18 years suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome, the result of a virus contracted on an African safari. There had been many signs of her paranormal sensitivity: For instance, she felt the presence of dead relatives and conveyed her grandfather’s message that it was time for her grandmother to join him, and she remembered a “Circus Master” figure haunting their duplex when she was a child. Berry took advantage of working at Truckee Meadows Community College to attend a ghost-hunting conference and train with a psychic, though she worried all along that such experiences were at odds with faith in God. However, friends encouraged her to keep an open mind; perhaps her sensitivity would bring her closer to God. As Berry returns to the Goldfield, where her framing story began, she’s unsure whether her health and faith are strong enough to withstand a full-scale haunting. Over a long night filled with sensing dead residents’ emotions, smelling ghostly odors, capturing footsteps and voices via EVP (electronic voice phenomena) recording, and feeling a hand stroking her hair, Berry’s “fear of ghosts transforms to awe.” Hearing the voice of God, having a telepathic friend affirm her sightings at the hotel, and experiencing a miraculous healing from her CFS all confirm for her that her path is not dangerous and that it has divine approval. Present-tense narration and convincing dialogue make for a gripping account, and Berry successfully balances abstract thought with physical realities; even a scene as simple as peeling potatoes in her home allows for extended contemplation of spiritual happenings. Intriguing as it is, the memoir is so full of subjective experience that it is unlikely to convince doubters.

A born-again believer makes a diverting adventure story out of embracing her sensitivity to benevolent spirits.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989872201

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Kathleen Berry

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2014

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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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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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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