A direct and no-nonsense manual to help young people navigate the world of intimacy.

SEX AND ROMANCE

From the Lifetime of Learning series , Vol. 3

A guide for adolescent readers explores the intricacies of sex and romance.

Alexander’s (Creating Your Life, 2018, etc.) compact manual acknowledges at the outset that there’s often a problem with the way young people are instructed about the two subjects that excite their curiosity the most: sex and love. As the author points out, they are often given stern warnings and vague generalizations but nothing specific or helpful. His book attempts to rectify this problem, laying out clearly worded basics on everything from sex to dating to marriage to the fundamental differences—biological, mental, and emotional—between boys and girls. At every stage of the guide, Alexander takes a step back in order to look at the big picture of what he’s discussing, and, as in his other books, he then shapes the outlines of that picture with the Socratic method of asking a series of clarifying questions. Under the heading of maintaining healthy communications in marriages and long-term relationships, for example, readers are asked, “Do you actively listen to your beloved? Do you maintain eye contact and respond thoughtfully? Do you and your beloved engage in regular activities together? Do you share pleasures?” At the heart of Alexander’s comments about sex is his insistence that it is an intoxicant, something that can impair judgment as certainly and negatively as alcohol. His call to action is the same here as in his other manuals: “Are you ready to do the hard work of transforming yourself into a different kind of person?” The advice in these pages is generally keen and perceptive, although there are odd lapses, particularly in the chapter “What Girls Should Know About Boys,” which delivers a long string of oddly ad hominem generalizations about boys—that they have little problem forgetting about girls immediately after sex; that they don’t perceive indirect communication; etc. Parents of boys will likely find these kinds of assertions confusing. But the bulk of the guide’s advice is invaluable, particularly for young readers in search of clear answers.

A direct and no-nonsense manual to help young people navigate the world of intimacy.

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-937597-22-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: The School of Pythagoras

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2018

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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