A rewarding book about the stuff that fulfills us.


An intimate examination of the meaning of material possessions.

Interior designer Berkus (Home Rules: Transform the Place You Live into a Place You'll Love, 2005) takes readers on a meticulous tour of his own home and those of 12 others, exploring the bits and pieces with which we surround ourselves. Seashells, rocks, glass boxes, framed family photos, trinkets and tchotchkes fill the shelves, nooks and crannies of the homes, each object a reflection of the person who collected it. The book is "about how the prints on our wall and the rough-hewn rocks we swiped from the Marfa farmer's market give our everyday lives shape, texture, and a sense of who we are, who we've been, and where we may be heading." Explicit descriptions and full-page photographs lead readers from room to room in homes overflowing with items such as "heart-shaped rocks, a little jade necklace, a pair of loving cups, a funny-looking owl, even a steel horse bit that you would swear was made by Gucci”—all requiring Berkus' sense of order. Other, smaller homes, reduced to the barest of pieces by the owners, provide them and Berkus with a much-needed haven from the hectic pace of the outside world. Whether the item was found in nature or at a local flea market, each is quirky, highly personal and special to the collector. Having survived his own personal tragedy, Berkus understands the need for comfort in a place where people can feel safe and at home. Through his charming, in-depth descriptions, readers will gain a new appreciation for the multitude of furniture, dishes, paintings, books and knickknacks that fill their own personal havens.

A rewarding book about the stuff that fulfills us.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-679-64431-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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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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