A man faces the challenges, terror, and humor of fatherhood after the age of 50 in this debut memoir.
Nordstrom is a self-proclaimed “old-fart father.” At the dawn of his 50s, he welcomed his son, Christian, into the world in stammering horror as he watched the baby literally cut from his wife’s body during a cesarean section. Three years later, his daughter, Alexandra, joined the family during a long and stressful birth for his wife, Mary, that left him in the corner with an oxygen mask on. But even if age brings wisdom, the author’s life before the children arrived little prepared him for parenthood—from the flying food and the unexpected dangers of bath time to the constant stickiness and piles of poop everywhere. But in these trying and humorous moments came revelations about the loss of single friends, the ins and outs of stay-at-home parenting, and perhaps most starkly, how families mark time. (“If you really looked at the old photos, you saw the same expressions...at a two-year-old’s birthday party—boredom, and the I want to leave face.…Most of those in the photos...are already dead. Maybe that’s the reason to celebrate a baby’s birth every year. To celebrate those still alive and who will be dead before the child reaches puberty.”) Nordstrom’s memoir skillfully captures a man who feels perpetually out of his depth, a new father overwhelmed by the daily problems of dirty diapers and unanswerable questions, with his greatest defense a nearly endless reserve of dark humor and dad jokes. Narrated in the first person, the book places readers in the foxhole alongside the author for every office call about “Spit Day” and irritating “Are we there yet?” in a manner that will likely make those without kids jubilant while giving parents numerous examples of why the trials are all worthwhile. In addition, there are odd, unexpected, even poetic observations, from the buildup of granola bar wrappers in a vehicle’s back seat to the way a discarded diaper soaks up bacon grease.
An insightful look at parenting for the old and young—and for those who want children or don’t.
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").
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)