SAVING GRACES

SOJOURNS OF A BACKYARD BIOLOGIST

More brief encounters in the wild and not-so-wild outdoors by Swain, Horticulture magazine's science editor (Field Days, 1983, etc.). Swain's topics run from childhood reminiscences of horse chestnuts and dime-store turtles to on-the-scene descriptions of leatherback turtles coming to shore in Costa Rica to lay eggs. There, the turtles are observed by the watchful eyes of biologists, but also by local natives eager to snatch the booty for its touted aphrodisiac powers. The author's approach to all this is sort of laid-back gentle. While he is clearly an avowed conservationist who sees the threat of development and exploitation laying the world to waste, he is not about to lecture the natives on their superstitions. He is ecstatic about the birds and the blueberries on the New Hampshire hill that proliferated once the trees were cut down. His admonition is to ``take time out to see what is happening''—``change cannot be halted, but it can be redirected,'' he says in an essay on walking the boundaries of his New England farm. Elsewhere, he glorifies bogs, with their richness of peat to be harnessed; cites the virtues of bats (and why they like attics) and the charms of honeybees as pets; and muses about the comfort of coming back to America and why we like high places and slow boats. Probably one of the oddest pieces is about making a comb; Swain delights in detailing how the process started with the felling of two trees, a black cherry and a red maple. All in all, comforting reading for the hammock or the back porch.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 1991

ISBN: 0-316-82471-2

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1991

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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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