for the first time. (Author tour)

FRESH AIR FIEND

TRAVEL WRITINGS

The prolific Theroux (Sir Vidia’s Shadow, 1998, etc.) gives full vent to his wanderlust in this virtuoso collection of travel

essays, all but one of which were written after his prior aggregation, Sunrise With Seamonsters (1984). Like Thoreau, who is something of a kindred spirit, Theroux combines a flinty individualism verging on crankiness, a curiosity about all manner of things, an almost pantheistic delight in nature, and a real grace of expression. Writing, he notes, is "like digging a deep hole and not quite knowing what you are going to find, like groping in a dark well-furnished room—surprises everywhere, and not just remarkable chairs but people murmuring in the weirdest postures." This description is just as apt, however, for explaining how he approaches the travel genre. As well as anyone writing in this deceptively narrow vein, Theroux understands how to filter the sights and sounds of such places as an African bush, the Yangtze River, or Christmas Island through the prism of his own personality. Essays are grouped thematically in sections dealing with his reminiscences, experiences as a kayaker and bicyclist, China, the Pacific, books of travel (by himself and others), profiles and appreciations of other writers, "fugues" about bizarre practices of other cultures, and other places in Europe, Asia, and the US. Theroux can assume all sorts of guises: reporter (sharp dissections of pre-Tiananmen Square China and pre-takeover Hong Kong), Boswell to other writers similarly compelled to write about the world (Bruce Chatwin, Graham Greene), critic (a review of William Least Heat-Moon’s PrairyErth), and lover of solitude (too numerous to mention). He can be scathingly funny on his Peace Corps experiences, discerning on the rigors of polar exploration, clinical on illnesses he’s contracted on five different continents, and lyrical on exotic lands threatened by commercialization. A feast for both Theroux aficionados and those lucky enough to experience his distinctive world-view and evocative prose

for the first time. (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 8, 2000

ISBN: 0-618-03406-4

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2000

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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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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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