A surprisingly winning long-distance love story.

Encountering God

REFLECTIONS ON THE COURTSHIP LETTERS OF MY RELIGIOUS PARENTS

The story of a Christian relationship, revealed in a series of letters.

Johnson’s account of his parents’ courtship and marriage opens by characterizing it as “a look into the life of two western farming communities in the late 1930s as seen through the eyes of two evangelical Swedish-Lutherans,” which might strike many readers as unpromising material for a gripping story. But through judicious quotations from his parents’ letters, couched in his own contextualization and observations, Johnson manages to create a quietly captivating picture of two deeply religious people gradually learning about each other. Walter was a farmer in Colorado, and Margaret was choral director and English teacher in North Dakota, and the initial spark of chemistry between them when they met at a church outing prompted the correspondence. Letter writing didn’t come easily to Walter, who confessed up front, “I do not know how to start one, I have trouble finishing them and I do not know what to put in between.” Margaret comes across as a more forceful character from the start, and their letters are full of topical references (as when Walter talks about freedom: “Our nation fought the revolutionary war to gain religious and political freedom. We fought to free the slaves from their bondage. Theodore Roosevelt fought to free us from the bondage of great trusts being organized at that time”) as well as abundant quotations from Scripture. The biblical quotations never feel forced or browbeating; rather, they convey a remarkably delicate impression of two strong-willed and very different personalities, growing steadily in affection for each other. Johnson smoothly fleshes out this epistolary skeleton with his own theological observations. These interjections (such as, “Helplessness and hopelessness naturally follow when we focus on the failures of others and concentrate on causes that we can do nothing about”) could easily have felt like interruptions, but Johnson makes them work, and the result is a moving glimpse into a very different time and place.

A surprisingly winning long-distance love story.

Pub Date: June 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-941733-33-2

Page Count: 186

Publisher: Living Parables, Incorporated

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2015

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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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