A useful collection of bracing thoughts and sinuous sentences.

TO SHOW AND TO TELL

THE CRAFT OF LITERARY NONFICTION

One of the Earls of Essay returns with a collection that illustrates both his knowledge of the genre and his considerable skill in practicing it.

Some of these pieces have appeared earlier, and they range in nature from struggles to define the genre, to pedagogical strategies he’s tried (and recommends), to reviews of the essays of other writers—living (Ben Yagoda, whose chin is the target for some Lopate left hooks) and not (Lamb, Hazlitt, James Baldwin). Lopate (Graduate Nonfiction/Columbia Univ.; At the End of the Day: Selected Poems and an Introductory Essay, 2010, etc.) is both at ease and ill at ease with the definitions of “creative nonfiction,” “memoir” and “lyric essay,” and he continually revisits his discomfort. He confesses that he’s neither a philosopher nor a professional rhetorician, so he sometimes has difficulty articulating precisely what he means. Most readers will disagree. Lopate also repeatedly uses moments from his own classroom to illuminate his points, mentioning struggles that students have finding a “voice,” defining the “I” they will use, figuring out how to organize and how to end a personal essay. He urges all to ignite the curiosity and follow its flames. In the piece “The Essay: Exploration or Argument?” he somewhat softens his earlier view that the personal essay contains no argument. We learn that he’s kept a journal since age 17 and that he recognizes, though grates, at the lower status nonfiction inhabits in academe. He takes a little poke at Facebook (though he fears no real evil from it) and expresses great admiration for Emerson and Baldwin, “the most important American essayist since the end of World War II.”

A useful collection of bracing thoughts and sinuous sentences.

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-9632-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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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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