An author living her life with her “heart in two places” gives readers a taste of the culinary pleasures she remembers.

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...Of Passing Clouds, Distant Shores, and Tales of A Cuban Cook

A COLLECTION OF FAMILY RECIPES

A nostalgic debut that’s half memoir of a childhood in 1950s Cuba, and half cookbook with traditional recipes.

Vadell simply and honestly tells of her early upbringing in Cuba, before her family left and eventually settled in the United States. Born in Havana in 1950, the author tells stories of birthday parties with piñatas, daily swimming at the beach at Santa Maria del Mar and gathering around the table with her extended family for lunch and dinner. “Dinner time was not only a time for nourishment but it was also the arena in which many discussions took place,” she writes. Politics was a common, often heated, topic; Grandmother was “considered a socialist,” while Grandfather and Mother were “more conservative.” Most memorable, though, were the aromas, textures and flavors of the authentic Cuban food. After old Cuba began to unravel in 1960 under the new government of Fidel Castro, the family sought refuge in Spain, Puerto Rico and finally Miami and Los Angeles. Although the memoir’s prose is sometimes repetitive, the author delivers a candid, engaging first-person account of a disrupted life and the making of a new one. The book’s second half details 40 classic Cuban recipes for soups, seafood, beef, poultry, egg dishes and desserts, including sopa de ajo, tortilla de platanos maduros, carne mechada and arroz con pollo, among others. The recipes’ ingredients are basic and readily available, and Vadell’s instructions are clear. She includes family stories with many of the dishes, as well as a few color images, including enticing photos of a flan ring and a bowl of sweetened corn meal.

An author living her life with her “heart in two places” gives readers a taste of the culinary pleasures she remembers.

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-1479219780

Page Count: 90

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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