Jacobsen may leave noncoastal readers drooling with jealousy, but vicarious oyster slurping is better than none.

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THE ESSENTIAL OYSTER

A SALTY APPRECIATION OF TASTE AND TEMPTATION

This verbally and visually succulent book covers 99 types of oysters, most from the shores of North America.

Ten years after A Geography of Oysters, James Beard Award–winning author Jacobsen (Apples of Uncommon Character, 2014, etc.) chronicles his travels from British Columbia down to Seattle, across the Gulf Coast, and from North Carolina up to Nova Scotia, with detours to Ireland, France, and New Zealand. There may be, as he notes, only five widely distributed species of edible oysters, but the look and taste of these species vary widely based on the “merroir” (the marine equivalent of “terroir”) in which they grow up and the way that they are treated as they grow. The author’s appreciation of even the least prepossessing of these bivalves is infectious. Jacobsen makes the case that “every oyster is a tide pool in miniature, a poem built of salt water and phytoplankton that nods to whatever motes of meaning shaped it.” The lavishly illustrated volume consists of mini-essays on the geography and people of the regions in which oysters grow wild or are farmed—Jacobsen favors the carefully farmed varieties—and two-page spreads on each of the types he features, as well as a few carefully culled recipes, a list of oyster bars at which he has enjoyed his subjects, and a glossary of terms like “flupsy” and “pluff mud.” Each of the entries covers species, cultivation, obtainability, flavor, and “presence.” The latter two are where the author lets his imagination soar: East Beach Blondes, farmed in Rhode Island, taste like “brine and ozone; a boardwalk in the rain”; Maine’s wild-harvested Belons remind him of “hazelnuts and anchovies fried in seal fat, with a squishy crunch like jellyfish salad.” In terms of presence, New Brunswick’s Beausoleils are “as clean and inoffensive as a Jehovah’s Witness,” and wild James River specimens have “oversized muscles and a pale potbelly, like an aging professional wrestler.”

Jacobsen may leave noncoastal readers drooling with jealousy, but vicarious oyster slurping is better than none.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63286-256-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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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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