A beautifully written consideration of the relation between home and personal identity.

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GATHERING FROM THE GRASSLAND

A PLAINS JOURNAL

A memoir chronicles a writer’s return to the ranch where she was raised.

Hasselstrom (No Place Like Home: Notes from a Western Life, 2010) largely grew up on a ranch in South Dakota, a slice of bucolic prairie land she left to pursue an education but returned to repeatedly. After her first marriage collapsed under the weight of her husband’s serial infidelities, she moved back to recover and, later, built a home on the property and lived there with her second husband, George. She still resides there with her new husband, Jerry—George tragically died from Hodgkin’s disease. The author’s remembrance is a catalog of journal entries covering one year broken into 12 chapters—each one representing a month of recollections. Hasselstrom interrogates her past with the scrupulousness of an investigative journalist, mining the family’s archival records—her mother’s and father’s journals and grandmother’s letters figure centrally—in order to understand her own place in the world. She wrestles to fully comprehend the bitterness her father experienced as a result not only of endless toil, but also debilitating health problems and the consequences of her mother’s bout with mental illness. The cynosure of the account, though, is her attachment to a ranch that is her family’s bequest, a parcel of land with an uncertain future: “I move through my days accompanied by thoughts of those who worked the land here before me, the people who are responsible for my being here. They will all be part of whatever decision I make about the future of this place.” Hasselstrom’s prose evocatively depicts the splendor of her natural environs and the way its beauty is complicated by attached memories not always sanguine. Her reflections are searching and elegantly meditative and traverse a broad swath of territory, including authorial creativity, cattle, and love. Since this is a diary kept daily, a good deal of space is reserved for documenting the quotidian: the weather, what the author prepared for lunch, and the kinds of work clothes she prefers. This content is unlikely to grab most readers.

A beautifully written consideration of the relation between home and personal identity.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-937147-12-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: High Plains Pr

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2017

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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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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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