What may make for engaging film with stunning scenery stalls as a written account.

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The India Ride

TWO BROTHERS, TWO MOTORCYCLES, ONE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURE

Two adventurous brothers describe their 54-day motorcycle trip around India.

Not long after completing their motorcycle ride through China, Colin and Ryan Pyle (The Middle Kingdom Ride, 2013) decided to take on a different country: India. Ryan, a photographer, chose India based on its diversity of landscapes, sense of rapid change, and population density. His younger brother, Colin, assumed that after China, this ride would be “a breeze.” The brothers, a cameraman, and a film assistant planned to start in Delhi and ride along India’s periphery. From Day 1, the population density that had once sounded thrilling quickly proved to be the biggest, most arduous hurdle of their ride—and it never relented. Traffic was a constant; lawless, poorly constructed motorways made for chaotic and dangerous traveling. The brothers rarely found any of the remote tranquility they experienced in China. Commercial areas offered them their only respite: Nashik vineyards, the Mahindra factory, and the Taj Mahal stood in contrast to the rampant poverty they came to expect. During an excursion to Karni Mata Temple at Deshnoke, also known as the Rat Temple, both brothers were repulsed by the unsanitary conditions and the more than 20,000 diseased rat inhabitants—believed by many to be ancient ancestors. A common religious refrain—God’s will determines fate—quickly grated on them as they believed it led to a lack of self-determination within the country. Both became aggravated with what they viewed as India’s failure to fix obvious issues: infrastructure, sanitation, and poverty. Though clearly excited to be on another adventure, the authors’ perspectives tend to dwell on the surface. Their straightforward accounts of the most basic elements of each day (time and distance traveled, state of the hotel, level of exhaustion, and upcoming stops) drain the momentum of their motoring through the country. Both brothers take time for introspection, but they repeat themselves; they’re tired and accept they will never understand any country from riding through it eight hours a day. And yet, their honesty is refreshing; it’s rare to find a travelogue that never resorts to high drama. Instead, they let their experiences speak for themselves.

What may make for engaging film with stunning scenery stalls as a written account.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9575762-4-7

Page Count: 280

Publisher: G219 Productions Limited

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2015

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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