FISHCAMP

LIFE ON AN ALASKAN SHORE

In describing her salmon-fishing life along Alaska's Cook Inlet, fiction writer Lord (Survival, 1991) fashions a rich, personal cosmology in prose as fluid as her environment. Lord and her husband, Ken, spend their summers at fishcamp, netting salmon—kings, pinks, sockeye, silvers, chums—for market and for themselves, with the occasional fish head tossed to eagles. Cook Inlet is no longer a great place to fish, but then ``making a living is less important to us than living where we want to be.'' Lord aspires to an authentic integration of work and life, trying to gain a healthy and wise connection to the patch she chose back in 1978, and so she lives deliberately, attentively, and in the spirit of inquiry. And to her everlasting credit, she doesn't browbeat readers with her lifestyle, doesn't get righteous, but wears her experiences lightly and with telling effect. Her book is written in the descriptive mode, broadly curious: She tells of opening up the fishcamp in late spring and of settling into beach time (sacred as opposed to chronological); explains how the immediate landscape was shaped (glacial and tectonic and volcanic forces); ruminates on the art of net mending and the constant impact of solitude; offers a knowledgeable guide to area botany and insinuates the local fauna gracefully into the story—thrush and warbler, beaver and moose, and the colossal brown bear with whom she had a run-in (``It's not fear I taste in my mouth, but something icy and metallic, like the backside of a cold mirror''). Sprinkled throughout are stories from the native Athabascan people and from immigrants come to make a living in an unforgiving locale, tales full of ``drownings, other deaths, abrupt and defeated departures, disasters narrowly averted.'' Lord creates an elegant, evocative portrait of a hard, beautiful place.

Pub Date: May 10, 1997

ISBN: 1-55963-477-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Shearwater/Island Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1997

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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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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