A debut faith guide aims to help Christians find the path to Jesus.
Letkemann’s slim book melds a wide-ranging scriptural literacy with strong elements of autobiography to craft a series of meditations on many aspects of Christian life. The author reflects on her life with her husband, Jake, and her experiences in her own faith community. Throughout the narrative, the author presents herself in a relaxed, mostly nonjudgmental stance, casually mentioning recently reading one biblical passage or another. And several of the book’s core teachings are likewise appealingly informal, with Letkemann regularly advising her readers to enter a personal relationship with Jesus in order to renovate their spiritual lives. She stresses that God is in the details: The point of faith is intimacy. She learned this through gradual steps, at first mistakenly asking herself, “Is this problem big enough to ask for help, or should I just be quiet and handle it myself?” She urges readers to realize that to ask this kind of question is to miss the point about the ongoing revelation that a relationship with the Christian God should be. Some of this will be familiar to fundamentalist Christians, the notion of “let go and let God.” “When I’ve done all that God asked me to do, I release my faith and leave the rest to Him,” she writes. “Why not entrust it to the only One who can make a difference?” Scattered throughout the text are also the type of errors and debatable interpretations that such books often feature. For example, “God created every creature on earth in pairs,” Letkemann writes. At another point, she asserts that the Bible is “the source of over six hundred fulfilled prophecies, many of which are verifiable.” But the guide’s central question will be telling for any Christian reader: “If I was put on trial for believing in Jesus, would there be any evidence to convict me?” As the author warns her readers, if the answer is no, there’s a problem.
A friendly, uplifting manual that challenges Christians to deepen their beliefs.
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)
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").