Rees, a horse trainer with a love of travel, offers a rambling account of her adventure in the wilds of the Old West. She and her friend Rick, both Welsh, determine to come to America, buy two horses, and ride through Arizona in search of a particular stone carving of a maze that is found in both Cornwall and Hopi territory. The horses they buy, Rosie and Duchess, had been spoiled and then dumped by former owners, and were literally on the way to the glue factory before Rees found them. The narrative is at its strongest when it focuses on these animals: They gradually accept training, and the mutual trust that develops between rider and horse is fascinating and frequently quite moving. Their journey is much harder than expected, and as the relationship between beast and human is strengthened, that between Rick and the author loses its center. The story becomes unexpectedly painful when Rees recounts past loves now lost. She seems to find herself stuck in an emotional equivalent of the maze she and Rick seek. After an awkward few days, the two travel on to the Hopi reservation where they want to study more closely the stone carving that links their country to America. The reservation, unfortunately, exposes a slightly maudlin edge to Rees's writing, and the history and importance of the carving are lost in a torrent of platitudes Ö la Dances with Wolves. The end of the story is a muddled rush that stands in sharp contrast to her earlier clear prose style. While it relies too heavily on a vague, New Age mysticism, this slender book is nonetheless an engaging and unique travelogue. (illustrations)
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").
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)