An accessible, indispensable nonfiction guidebook from an authority who knows his subject from cover to cover.



A practical primer on writing “true stories, well told.”

Prolific writer, magazine editor and academic Gutkind (Almost Human: Making Robots Think, 2007, etc.) examines a fast-moving literary genre that promotes credible nonfiction material that’s both edifying and entertaining. The first section of his two-part writing guide defines and then describes the conception of authoring creative nonfiction. The second section serves as a motivational guide for writers. Much inspiration can be found in Gutkind’s authoritative, slickly written amalgam combining the “basic, anchoring elements” of nonfiction with industry wisdom on fact-checking and boundaries and a short history on authors who questionably padded their subject matter. The author highlights “immersion” research (experiencing subject matter personally) and the importance of rewriting, structure and focus, and he includes valuable writing (and reading) exercises that deconstruct the finer details of the process. Gutkind’s generous use of apposite excerpts from such authors as Rebecca Skloot and Lauren Slate further engages readers, encouraging them to practice and apply his writing techniques. Reminiscent of Stephen King’s fiction handbook On Writing, the book will be useful to both new writers and seasoned chroniclers seeking a professional refresher course on the basics of content and continuity and on how to expand audience attention for typically esoteric material. Gutkind also provides a helpful appendix called, “Then and Now: Great (and Not So Great) Moments in Creative Nonfiction, 1993-2010,” which includes such significant events as the creation of Oprah’s Book Club and the James Frey scandal.

An accessible, indispensable nonfiction guidebook from an authority who knows his subject from cover to cover.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7382-1554-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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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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