Reading this enlightening book won’t only open a window into Theroux’s mind, it will also impart a deeper understanding of...

THE LAST TRAIN TO ZONA VERDE

MY ULTIMATE AFRICAN SAFARI

The acclaimed travel writer and novelist chronicles his journey through Africa as tourist, adventure-seeker, thinker and hopeful critic.

Theroux (The Lower River, 2012, etc.) is the purest kind of travel writer; he offers no tips, no hotels gems or restaurant recommendations, and very few grand, clichéd this-is-what-my-journey-taught-me-about-myself moments. Instead, the author dissects a place and its inhabitants, luxuriating in its history and confronting its present reality. In what he terms his “ultimate African safari,” Theroux manages to incorporate—rather than avoid—the general viewpoints of literature about the continent. He revels in the simple, historical life of the bush but acknowledges its basis in fantasy. He decries the chronic ailments of governments and citizens and still appreciates the vast expanses of beauty, but without the wide-eyed wonder of so many travelers. In this intensely personal book, Theroux honestly confronts racism, stigma, privilege and expectations. He describes both the privilege and the perversity of slum tours and points out Western complicity in what he calls the voyeurism of poverty, which turns poverty itself into a profitable endeavor. After years of travel writing Theroux willingly questions the very relevance of the endeavor. If the narrative occasionally feels repetitive, it is due to the fact that the author is stressing an important point—though his constant ranting about rap music does start to sound like an old man griping. Still, even his age is significant, and Theroux continually demonstrates the wonder and enthusiasm that has led him on so many adventures during his long career. “Show me something new, something different, something changed, something wonderful, something weird!” he writes. “There has to be revelation in spending long periods of time in travel, otherwise it is more waste.”

Reading this enlightening book won’t only open a window into Theroux’s mind, it will also impart a deeper understanding of Africa and travel in general.

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-618-83933-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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