A difficult-to-categorize compendium of religious commentary down through the ages.
Eclectic writer Saquib (Anondo Bedonay America, 2012) spent 13 years putting together this compilation, for which he pored over hundreds if not thousands of sources. The premise of the book is that all religions are truly one, in that we all worship the same God, and if Saquib can succeed in making that fact blindingly apparent—with over 400 pages of comparative quotations, coincidental observations and parallel trackings through millennia—then the current “clash” of civilizations may become a “friendship” of civilizations that will usher in the Peaceable Kingdom. His gleanings are from all the major religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism, Buddhism and more; even atheism gets a nod. Furthermore, the timeline goes from the first primitive sense of a deity right up to this post-9/11 world. Saquib is nothing if not helpful and inviting. Right off, he assures readers that “this book is designed to be read randomly—a page, a few quotes or a chapter at a time, to allow for contemplation.” He offers not only a preface but a detailed readers’ guide describing the organization of the book, its benefits and thumbnail summaries of each of the 14 chapters. He even suggests how neatly it could fit in as a textbook in a typical college semester. Each chapter contains a Status Update as a kind of historical preamble; Notes from History, to orient readers; a Holy Wall on which God posts; a Wall of Mortals on which humans have posted; and a Chapter Digest to summarize it all. Rarely has a reader been more solicitously shepherded. Aside from a few copy editing errors, Saquib writes well and is scrupulous about details, but readers needn’t be cynical to have doubts. For instance, the idea that humans all worship the same God has been indeterminately argued since time immemorial. Still, readers may feel abashed in the literary presence of a man who dares to hope, who’s not ashamed to look perhaps foolishly naïve in this jaded age, and who has devoted so much time and work to this labor of love that’s boundless in its optimism.
A testament to optimism and courage, which, even if arguable, provides a record of our long fascination with God.
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)