WAY OUT HERE

MODERN LIFE IN ICE-AGE ALASKA

A closely observed, pleasurable account of homesteading days and nights in Alaska's remote Susitna Valley from Leo (Edges of the Earth, 1991). Leo shucked Manhattan for the wild beauties of deep Alaska 15 years ago. An urban executive educated at a tony university, he was an unlikely candidate for such a move, but he pulled it off, building his own home six miles from the nearest road, helping to raise a family of three boys, staying put. His land—a spruce and birch wood pocked by meadowlands hard by the flanks of Denali (Mount McKinley) and only a few degrees south of the Arctic Circle- -is a summer rain forest that transforms itself into a winter wonderland with 25 feet of snow and wind-chills dipping to 100 degrees below zero. Leo loves every inch and minute of it, and that passion comes pouring off the page, whether he's extolling the virtues of the boreal forest (alive with the sounds of thrush and warbler), discussing the pleasures of raising his sons in such a setting (his wife is curiously absent from the narrative), even when bemoaning the mosquito plague (118 killed before breakfast). Leo brings to this existence, with its quality of stillness, an empathy that would make Gary Snyder proud: long forays afield exploring Denali's five great glacial watersheds, getting intimate with the locals (plants, animals, and neighbors), talking to his sled dogs. The writing can be self-involved (there's little doubt that Leo thinks quite highly of himself), and one chapter dribbles endlessly on about ``connectedness''—long on good intentions, if too dreamily personal to have much impact. But despite the wifty moments, Leo displays a presence of mind that is alert, aware, and accepting. Few people can be said to have paid as much attention, to have listened as hard, to their patch of earth as Leo.

Pub Date: April 29, 1996

ISBN: 1-57061-061-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1996

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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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