Pleasant enough but a soufflé that leaves Steinbeck with nothing to worry about.

THE DOG WENT OVER THE MOUNTAIN

TRAVELS WITH ALBIE: AN AMERICAN JOURNEY

Meanderings around America in the company of an obliging yellow Lab.

“Not every trip we take is life-altering or results in a profound epiphany,” writes freelance journalist Zheutlin (Rescued: What Second-Chance Dogs Teach Us About Living With Purpose, Loving With Abandon, and Finding Joy in the Little Things, 2017, etc.), who demonstrates the truth of that statement. Closing in on retirement age, he and Albie hit the road in homage to John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley. Zheutlin travels wide but seldom deep, gathering anecdotes over 9,000 miles from New England to the West Coast and back. He notes that Vicksburg, Mississippi, “even with its rich Civil War history, seemed forlorn” and hastens on to Natchez, which “was prettier and seemed more prosperous.” If he’d lingered for a moment in Vicksburg, he might have learned why that might be the case and why residents of that city still nurse hard feelings for their neighbors downriver. Some of his stories have more weight to them. A nice moment comes early on, when he describes the so-called Jackson Whites, "a race living in the Ramapo Mountains” who were probably a mixed population of runaway slaves, Native Americans, Hessian deserters, and other people who had good reason to want to be left alone. Albie is definitely the star of the show; like all Labs, he can be growly at times but is otherwise an amiable presence. It doesn’t help his case that Zheutlin uses Albie to sentimental, sometimes-cloying ends, as when he writes of a homeless woman he encounters, “Albie, of course, cannot make judgments about people’s circumstances, which may be why meeting a dog that cannot and will not discriminate against you based on your circumstances, your race, or your religion must be…a lesson for us all.” Nostrums notwithstanding, the narrative is unchallenging and easygoing, like something Charles Kuralt might have delivered in his TV travelogues of old.

Pleasant enough but a soufflé that leaves Steinbeck with nothing to worry about.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64313-201-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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