BLUE REMEMBERED HILLS

With the same no-nonsense vigor that is the hallmark of her historical novels for children, Sutcliff recalls her first 25 years—making only the most matter-of-fact references to her permanent crippling by Still's Disease, a rare form of juvenile arthritis. Born in 1920 in Surrey, Rosemary was forever shifting from place to place as a child: her quiet father was a naval officer, stationed in the Mediterranean ("To this day the name 'Malta' means bells to me"), then dockyards at Sheerness and Chatham. Her mother was Spartan, volatile, doting, difficult: "She was wonderful, no mother could have been more wonderful. But ever after, she demanded that I should not forget, nor cease to be grateful, nor hold an opinion different from her own, nor even, as I grew older, feel the need for any companionship but hers." Sutcliff remembers: sojourns with edgy relatives; beloved playmate Giles, imprisoned (like Rosemary at times) in his "spinal carriage," but peripatetic in his one hour of free exercise each day; terrible loneliness when isolated at home; useful stints at ordinary schools ("no child, I believe, should go to a special school who can possibly cope and be coped with in a normal one"); and grim/cheerful times at children's hospitals—where Rosemary was "the stranger whom the pack turns on." (Class-conflict was more primal than the shared experience of being handicapped.) Later came art school, with training—and technical success—as a portrait miniaturist. But "I could not cope with harsh realities in paint." So Rosemary, a late-reader who discovered book-ecstasy in L. M. Montgomery's Emily of New Moon, developed "the itch to write"—an itch that was seriously deepened by her odd 1940s love (wondrous, hurtful) for ex-RAF man Rupert, who was interested in a mÉnage à trois. . . with a non-handicapped woman as the third party. Brief (140 pp.) but rich, frank but never sloppy: a crisp little gem for Sutcliff fans and connoisseurs of childhood-memoirs.

Pub Date: May 21, 1984

ISBN: 1906562008

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1984

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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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