The third and final installment of a nautical memoir of a couple’s circumnavigation of the globe.
Hofmann (Sailing the South Pacific, 2012, etc.) and her husband, Gunter, decided to sail around the world in a state-of-the-art, custom-built catamaran, starting in 2000. Their last series of voyages commenced in Australia and circled back to France, where their journey began. Along the way, the couple made memorable stops in Thailand, Singapore, China, and Yemen, among other places; the entire eight-year trip landed them in 62 countries. Many of the troubles they encountered were minor, though understandably exasperating. The author notes that the lack of air-conditioning was oppressive, for example, and she and her husband contended with woeful bureaucratic corruption in Indonesia and Egypt. The couple found themselves at a discomfiting emotional impasse when Gunter suddenly announced that he wanted to abandon the original navigational plan in order to spend as much as another year in Thailand. He was depleted from travel, Hofmann writes, and worried about the wisdom of sailing through Pirate’s Alley, an infamously dangerous stretch of water between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. This is also the most romantic volume of the trilogy, however; the Hofmanns celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in Australia, which she affectingly describes in these pages. Like its predecessors, this is a heavy tome, adorned with spectacular color photographs, and the author furnishes a surfeit of intriguing asides about the lands they visit. Also like its prequels, the journey is too minutely recorded for general consumption; it will serve best as a memoir for the author’s friends and family. And although Hofmann’s prose is reliably clear and passionate, it can devolve into theatricality at times: “I feel like I’m living inside a CIA thriller.” Still, this is an incisive and granular travelogue for those who want to emulate the author’s journey, and her accounts of cultural mores are fascinating, as in her astute comparison of Thai and Malaysian history.
A beautifully produced travelogue, but one that’s far too long and detailed to have very broad appeal.
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").