Very human in its scale, concerns, and aspirations: the kind of story that could light a fire under a reader’s dream of...

LIFE IN A POSTCARD

ESCAPE TO THE FRENCH PYRENEES

Travel writer Bailey vividly describes moving her family from England to the French Pyrenees.

Early in this story, as the author tells of fixing up her newly purchased, 16th-century monastery with ochre lime mortar and terracotta tiles, readers may dread the prospect of yet another winsome tale of a delicious rural hideaway discovered by a vacationing couple and renovated by a force of colorful local artisans into the perfect bijou residence. But anyone who read Bailey’s account of her brother’s death (Scarlet Ribbons: A Priest with AIDS, 1998) will know there’s no danger of sentimentality. She fully delves into the act of living in a decrepit monastery. As she and her husband chip away at plaster in an effort to expose the original design, she tries to imagine what it was like to live there as a member of the brotherhood of Servites (“an Italian order dedicated to the sorrow of the Virgin Mary”) or as the hermit who kept the candles burning for the dead and rang the bells to scare away thunderstorms and witches. She becomes familiar with the local peach farmers (squabbling with some of them) and with the nouveaux paysans, an international band of slow-living, artful people who live in the hills of the region. She contends with the everyday aggravations—rampant brambles, rats in the attic, her newly developed hay fever—along with the everyday pleasures: her son's new school, Catalan food, the experience of living in a new place, which keeps her alert to everything from changes in the seasonal light to learning the common courtesies. All this while she has to work to pay the bills and ensure the well-being of her son, whom she feels guilty about having so rudely uprooted.

Very human in its scale, concerns, and aspirations: the kind of story that could light a fire under a reader’s dream of flight to the warm south.

Pub Date: May 15, 2003

ISBN: 0-553-81341-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Bantam UK/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more