Unremarkable collection, overall, but a touching mirror into the souls of the greener generation.

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WRITING IN UNREADERLY TIMES

Mildly informative collection of 23 essays (and 1 poem) on the state of the literary life, by youngish authors and Web-crawlers.

Smokler, founder of centralbooking.com, divides the text into separate sections. In “Beginnings,” his earnest literary fledglings recount how they got started. “Not Fade Away” explains why reading Hemingway during his Army stint in Somalia prodded Christian Bauman to start writing—“they should take away my writing license for saying such a thing,” he jokes. “The Invisible Narrator” describes Howard Hunt’s segue from writing for magazines to composing successful fiction. Michelle Richmond meditates on the empty merits of earning an MFA in “From Fayetteville to South Beach.” Then, seven essays on “The Writing Life” expose just how egotistical writers are. Glen David Gold admits to shameless self-Googling in “Your Own Personal Satan,” while Neal Pollack’s “Her Dark Silent Cowboy No More” recounts the exchange of e-mails he solicited after his book Never Mind the Pollacks (2003) reached “cult” status. “The trajectory of my life has been set by the movements of dollars,” Benjamin Nugent reveals in “Security.” The final sections, “The Now” and “The Future,” showcase essayists attempting more grand statements. Tracy Chevalier, one of the better-known authors here, gives lackluster Top Ten reading recommendations in “Lying to the Optician.” K.M. Soehnlein’s laments gay writing’s loss of prominence. Paul Flores, in “Voice of a Generation,” describes his workshop experience using Spanglish rap to promote the spoken word. His generation must contend with an “unprecedented number of time-sucking lures,” such as video games, Tom Bissell moans in “Distractions.” Readers worrying that every member of this age group is unbearably self-important should turn immediately to Robert Lanham’s scorching “The McEggers Tang Clan,” hands-down the collection’s funniest essay.

Unremarkable collection, overall, but a touching mirror into the souls of the greener generation.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-465-07844-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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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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