A prayer journal that lacks polish and an effective presentation.

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Sacred Prayers to God

Pollitt offers 500 prayers to God in this Christian volume.

With hundreds to choose from, this debut book contains prayers for all manner of situations and times of difficulty. No table of contents or thematic index is present to guide the potential supplicant, however: Pollitt advises readers to pray before opening this journal so that Jesus will help them select the specific invocation they need that day. Each page begins with a prayer, opening, like a letter, with “Dearest Jesus” and ending with “Thank you Jesus, Amen.” The prayers differ in tone, purpose, and language. Some seek to replicate the formal language of the King James Bible: “Show unto me the beauty and hidden fruits of the spirit in all your holy chosen people and bridle my tongue with angels.” Others are composed in a more contemporary register: “You turned the water into wine, four jugs, 200% pure, changed my income.” Some are curiously specific: “Lord Jesus, thank you for your mighty supernatural matchless power, show unto me new stuff at my present family business.” The majority of each page is given over to blank lines, which are marked as “Sacred space to write your visions on how this prayer has blessed or changed your life.” There are enough lines in these sections that most readers should be able to use the prayers more than once before filling up the space. The fact that Pollitt managed to compose so many discrete prayers is indeed impressive. Even so, the categorization of the devotions and the journaling space beneath them as “sacred” feels a bit exploitative considering how lazily the book is formatted (prayers and lines from one page frequently encroach onto the next) and how many typos are present in the text (“Jobe” instead of Job). While the journaling aspect of the book is intriguing, it casts the act of prayer in transactional terms that some religious readers will likely find gauche. Those looking for daily pre-written prayers can certainly find better crafted alternatives elsewhere, either online or published in volumes smaller than a math textbook.

A prayer journal that lacks polish and an effective presentation.

Pub Date: March 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4984-6732-2

Page Count: 508

Publisher: Xulon Press

Review Posted Online: July 22, 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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