A levelheaded, readable manual for taking some of the chaos out of child-rearing.

Life Will Get Better


A debut guidebook offers natural and common-sense approaches to child behavior problems.

The note of optimism sounded in the title of Beurkens’ work is present throughout the volume, which functions as a written version of a deep, calming breath taken in the midst of the turmoil parents can feel while raising their young children. Her focus is nominally kids with anxiety or mood problems, tackling such issues as attention deficits and energy imbalances. She consistently expresses a patient, evenhanded reassurance for the young parents who are her obvious target readership. Beurkens, a clinical psychologist, uses a stance of big-picture professional observation to keep parents centered on essentials, even in the face of multiple distractions. “Others may see your child only through the lens of their challenges,” she writes, “and sometimes even you may have a hard time remembering who your child is underneath the problems and difficulties that arise.” She outlines the broad-strokes nature of some of those complications and then lays out a series of simple, mostly natural approaches to overcoming them. She stresses good nutrition, for instance—steps to cut down or eliminate excessive sugar and all artificial sweeteners from a child’s diet, strategies to get youngsters involved in thinking about their own eating habits, etc. Given today’s screen-oriented social world, the points Beurkens makes about the importance of physical activity (and even simple movement) are particularly refreshing. “Human beings are wired for connection,” she points out, meaning the face-to-face, personal kind rather than the electronic one. The book’s most convincing section is one of its shortest, on the vital role sleep plays in health (overstressed parents will want to pay close attention to the pages and pages of restorative common sense in this chapter). From first part to last, the message is that parents are doing their children a big service by being vigorously mindful of the basics. New parents especially will find a great many useful tips in these pages.

A levelheaded, readable manual for taking some of the chaos out of child-rearing.

Pub Date: March 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9973639-1-3

Page Count: 293

Publisher: Sky Water Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


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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