A moving account that should help families affected by cancer cope with despair.

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Living in Color

A STORY OF LOVE, IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH

A grief-stricken husband attempts to come to terms with the death of his wife in this debut memoir.

Michael Murphy enjoyed an idyllic life in a mansion with his wife and four kids. Then one day, a stunning married woman named Margot walked into the car dealership where he worked and his life changed. Margot would teach Murphy “what it meant to love more deeply than I ever knew was possible.” Though he was married at the time, he couldn’t help but be drawn to Margot. The two decided to separate from their spouses to be together. They eventually wed, but tragedy struck when Margot was diagnosed with cancer. Murphy navigated hospitals and chemotherapy while trying to enjoy the time he had left with his wife. He believed in spiritual healing, and often imagined “neutralizing [cancer cells] with unconditional love.” He was determined to try anything that would ensure his wife’s continued survival. Throughout the book, he maintains that “love is the most powerful force in the Universe.” This sweet proclamation is far from sappy knowing the challenging situation that Murphy and his family found themselves in. In fact, reading about his ability to support his wife and stay positive for the family is incredibly affecting. Margot herself is a fully realized character in the narrative. Murphy recalls texts she wrote assuring her family that she was “not scared” and that “suffering at times brings you closer to God.” This work will probably help readers who have lost spouses deal with feelings of sorrow and helplessness, as well as those who have suffered from cancer or know someone who has. But it is also a well-written, touching tale of a family’s struggle to grapple with tragic circumstances. Ultimately, this is an uplifting read that includes well-developed characters and a carefully constructed narrative that manages to snag readers not just with the details of Margot’s battle with cancer, but with the story of how she and Murphy fell in love.

A moving account that should help families affected by cancer cope with despair.

Pub Date: May 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5121-5856-4

Page Count: 214

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2016

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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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