A brief and passionate call for Christians to make everyday connections with God.



A reverend offers a meditation on the core values of Christianity.

This latest work from Vu (Living for a Higher Purpose, 2017, etc.) seeks to reconnect the author’s target readership of practicing Christians with what he sees as the seven key demonstrations of God in their lives: peace, mercy, love, hope, joy, generosity, and faithfulness. In warm and inviting prose, the author examines each of these guiding principles and supplies examples drawn from his own experiences and from Scripture. Love is illustrated, for instance, by the story of a man named Matt. He visited his elderly veteran father regularly in a nursing home, even after his parent’s dementia worsened to the point where Matt sometimes left in tears. Hope is represented by the New Testament figure of Mary Magdalene, and joy by the Virgin Mary’s cousin Elizabeth. Vu focuses on Elizabeth’s reaction to the virgin’s pregnancy news. According to the author, invoking God’s presence through moments like these acts as a life raft that gives the faithful the courage to go on. He provides many examples of people searching for that raft, including Simeon and Anna (here inaccurately termed “prophets”), who waited steadfastly for the coming of the Messiah. “Anyone who demonstrates any sign of love knows God and comes from God,” Vu asserts in one of the many sentiments scattered throughout the book that will likely annoy atheists and even many moderate Christians. (The worst of these pronouncements is the old fundamentalist slur that without God to hold people “accountable,” they would instantly begin harming their neighbors.) But the author’s core audience will find his message of hope uplifting and his denunciation of the world’s cynicism comforting. His seven principles, he claims, are “a real indication of the presence of God.” And his extension of this link to things like service to community and acts of kindness should make those Christian readers feel very much included in the mercy he describes.

A brief and passionate call for Christians to make everyday connections with God.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4575-6738-4

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2019

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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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