Sure to be snatched up by fans.

CRACKS IN MY FOUNDATION

BAGS, TRIPS, MAKE-UP TIPS, CHARITY, GLORY, AND THE DARKER SIDE OF THE STORY

Gaelic gabber Keyes (Sushi for Beginners, 2003, etc.) provides a treat for fans: a book divided among essays and stories, the former tastier than the latter.

The nonfiction pieces that take up half of Keyes’s latest (flip the book over to read the fiction taking up the rest) are written with grace and good humor, giving even the most seemingly trivial of experiences a goodly going-over, and all of it with at least one brilliant turn of phrase per page. Keyes is at her best when writing on travel, as in “Stack’n’fly,” in which she does her determined best to puncture the myth that it’s better to travel than to arrive: “It is NOT better to travel. To travel is AWFUL and to arrive is LOVELY.” Elsewhere, readers are treated to her many loves (Kit Kats, 16 hours of sleep a day, being sick in bed so that somebody has to take care of her) and many hates (exercise, sun-tanning, her fellow Irishmen’s need when traveling to be the life of the party). The author includes a hilarious account of her travels to Russia: “Flight to St. Petersburg. The plane was disappointingly normal. Seat belts and the like.” It’s not all chocolate and lazing about, however. She revisits in one nonfiction piece a look at her own years-long struggle with alcoholism, recounting it with honesty and a refreshing lack of pathos. Things fare less well on the fiction side, where the stories seem more like forced attempts to capture the self-deprecating good humor of her magazine pieces. This is especially true of “A Moment of Grace,” a story about a forlorn angel’s attempt to commit all the seven deadly sins. It’s all easy enough to read, even the one about the alien and English girl bopping about L.A., but can seem like sloppy seconds.

Sure to be snatched up by fans.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-078703-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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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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