An enthusiastic chronicle of how one woman’s religious passion almost swallowed her whole.

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SIN BRAVELY

A MEMOIR OF SPIRITUAL DISOBEDIENCE

How an overly zealous religious imagination hampered the author’s life.

From a very early age, Rowe, a comedy writer and producer, knew she was a Christian. She had her own Bible complete with commentaries that she spent hours reading and quoting. She tried hard not to sin, and she made sure to be a silent and then direct witness. However, despite her best attempts to accept Jesus as her savior, she always had a nagging sense of doubt that her best efforts were not good enough. She felt that Jesus could “turn on me at any moment; that He is kind until He is not, that He is absolute love until He is absolute vengeance. I know He could effortlessly toss me into hell for all eternity before turning back to nuzzle his beloved sheep—all without messing up His Pantene hair.” Rowe’s obsessive worries about her faith plagued her as a young child, and she takes readers through the years leading up to and through a three-month stint in the evangelical psychiatric center she attended when she was 19. Full of the normal angst that most adolescents experience, Rowe’s stroll down Memory Lane contains the added layer of her religious fanaticism. Her worries about whether she had truly accepted Jesus grew progressively worse as time passed, especially when she reached college and began to date. Love, lust, and religion all comingled in the author’s mind, creating a mixture of stress and fear that made her sick. Rowe is candid throughout the book, giving plenty of details about her psychotic break and of how she began to find her way back to some semblance of balance, supported by her fellow group members in the rehab center. Devotees of Rowe’s comedy and those with a strong interest in born-again Christianity will enjoy learning about her strife and road to redemption.

An enthusiastic chronicle of how one woman’s religious passion almost swallowed her whole.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59376-659-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Soft Skull Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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