A well-paced musical memoir about the value of perseverance.

Naked on the Bench

MY ADVENTURES IN PIANOLAND

A debut memoir of one woman’s quest to become a successful concert pianist, and the setbacks and triumphs she meets along the way.

As an energetic toddler brimming with creativity, Spielberg was left to play in a closed room for hours into the night. However, what her parents mistook for hyperactivity was, in fact, the budding of a musical prodigy. In this memoir, the author chronicles a series of events from her first touch of a piano key to her later multi-album success. She highlights the highs and lows of an artist journeying toward a career in music and doesn’t leave out personal mistakes or humiliating moments. In one chapter, she misjudges a friend’s verbal support and subsequently blasts an email with his endorsement to her fans. In another, she meets a man whom she confused for a fellow artist, who later became a stalker and scorned antagonist. These darker moments balance the book’s predominantly positive mood and give the story complexity, depth and a bit of relatable, raw reality. Spielberg’s commitment to straightforward storytelling allows her to avoid the sentimentality sometimes found in other memoirs. She allows events to speak for themselves, and the book reads like a series of episodes—a well-paced, readable collection of anecdotes that delicately leaves gaps of time between its chapters. Although an artist must appear flawless when onstage, the lifetime preceding that moment is anything but unblemished, and Spielberg reveals the perseverance, humility and self-awareness it takes to become a successful artist without becoming self-centered. Indeed, the author discovers that success in art means making an impact on an audience.

A well-paced musical memoir about the value of perseverance.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0970563354

Page Count: 357

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: July 8, 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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