Trite, trivial, and tasteless describe this unrewarding effort of a society reporter, novelist, and ``sometime Washington hostess.'' That latter label horrified Quinn (Happy Endings, 1991) when she heard it aplied to her on Good Morning America. She was, after all, a ``serious journalist,'' and ``hostess'' was synonymous with ``frivolous'' in her view. She was, alas, somehow persuaded otherwise. Quinn has organized a book about giving parties that begins with a credible mantra from her party-giving parents: ``A guest can do no wrong.'' It's downhill from there. Names—from the Clintons to Princess Margaret, Henry Kissinger to Lauren Bacall, and Washington pundits too numerous to mention or remember—are scattered profusely, but many of the anecdotes are pointless and without context. One secret of legendary hostess Perle Mesta's success, she tells us, was to hang a lamb chop in her window to signal a party—but why? Perhaps lamb chops have a kinky sexual connotation not revealed here. More likely, it was WW II and meat was rationed, making lamb chops a surefire lure for partygoers. No hint of that historic motive from Quinn, whose party success meter seems to be how many guests ``in black tie and . . . evening gowns were reclining all over the living room floor giggling.'' Moreover, in a chapter alluringly titled ``The Booze,'' her vaunted motto regarding the immunity of guests stops short at large cocktail parties, where she refuses to serve red wine because ``people spill,'' and coffee after dinner, because ``it kills the party''—presumably sobering everyone up. Other chapters deal equally improbably with table settings, entertainment after the meal, and where to have the party. Beginning and ending chapters are titled ``The Point'' and ``The Point (Again),'' but Quinn seems to have missed it both times. Go to Miss Manners for a useful guide to party giving or to almost any celebrity bio for better anecdotes about parties-I- have-known. (b&w illustrations)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 1997

ISBN: 0-684-81144-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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?



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?