A thrilling, surprising collection—one of the best in the series.

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THE BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING 2014

A lavish and often revelatory assortment of travel writings.

Adventure off the beaten track is the guiding theme of this latest collection in the long-running series, and most of the contributors deliver it on a level that will gratify both armchair travelers and the most seasoned and fearless thrill-seekers. These writers provide dispatches from all corners of the globe—from South Sudan to Paris to Brazil to Calcutta to the Adirondacks—and in most cases, they deliver refreshingly original stories, alternately humorous, nostalgic, exhilarating and horrifying. On the whole, the quality of the writing is high, with only two or three descents into bombastic machismo. Elif Batuman pursues a mysterious local kidney disorder in Croatia; Stephanie Pearson explores the lesser-known areas of Colombia; Amanda Lindhout describes her "460 Days" as a prisoner of Somali insurgents; Michael Paterniti explores an extraordinary type of cheese in an adaptation from his outstanding memoir, The Telling Room (2013); and Matthew Power, who died tragically this year, plunges into the world of “urbex,” the exploration of secret places in some of the most-visited cities of the world. Not all the essays will be to everyone's taste, but in most cases, this is a matter of personal preference, not quality. One low point is Harrison Scott Key's strained comedy on traveling by Greyhound, in which he finds only the caricatures he went looking for. Some pieces provide contemplative breaks in the action, including Thomas Swick’s “A Moving Experience,” which considers how unexciting travel can be. In the foreword, series editor Jason Wilson provides another fine essay about rediscovering his first great wine experience, and second-time editor Theroux introduces the book with thoughts on his own career of risky explorations and the pleasures of reading about the most challenging "adventures and ordeals—the traveler's baptism of fire." Other contributors include A.A. Gill, David Sedaris and Colson Whitehead.

A thrilling, surprising collection—one of the best in the series.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0544330153

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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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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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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