I WAS A BETTER MOTHER BEFORE I HAD KIDS

As touted by the publisher, another candidate to fill the hole left by the late Erma Bombeck. It’s unfortunate that every writer who tries to find a few laughs in the sturm und drang of raising children needs to be compared to Bombeck or Dave Barry. True, Borgman is no Erma Bombeck, but why should she have to be? She is a nationally syndicated columnist (more than 350 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service clients) whose subjects are kids, family, husband, and keeping it all together. This is a collection of her columns, organized loosely into chapters such as “I Cook, Therefore I Am,” about feeding a family of five; “Household Hazards,” about the challenges of running a household for same; and “Are We Having Fun Yet?,” about traveling with same. The columns are sometimes amusing, occasionally moving or insightful. A few fall flat. Amusing : “A Field of Greens,” about coaching her husband to cook using sports metaphors, or “Joy Ride,” about coping with a choking baby and two school-age terrorists in the backseat of a minivan 30 seconds before the light changes. Moving: “The Long Good-bye,” about her mother-in-law suffering from Alzheimer’s. Insightful: “Cool, Calm, and Crazy,” about the responsibility of being a parent. Very flat: “Misdemeanor Recipes,” about who should really get the credit for hand-me- down recipes. A section called “The Heart of Things” waxes maudlin on old-fashioned virtues, like duty, responsibility and saying no to your children. Borgman is witty and has a playful imagination. On the other hand, why spend 21 bucks on this uneven collection’subscribe to one of the newspapers that carries her column, and you’ll get the day’s news as well.

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02722-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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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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