From Pickering—English professor (Univ. of Connecticut) and reluctant inspiration for the movie Dead Poets Society—more essays that distill from life's accumulated clutter the small telling details that amuse, illuminate, and often lyrically celebrate. Like the long walks he takes in search of life forced ``under a microscope,'' Pickering's essays not only explore themes in a leisurely way but digress: He makes pithy comments on family and colleagues, relates old Southern jokes, and records the summer appearance of a milkweed plant or the amount of native raspberries recently picked. In the title essay, Pickering happily ignores a gate marked State Property—No Trespassing and goes on to confess that for years he has trespassed, ``for a closed gate is an open invitation to explore. Writers, of course, forever trespass, wandering beyond the margins of good behavior into off-limits and then converting private property into public life.'' A free- spirited trespasser, he eavesdrops on conversations in his local coffee shop and roams the fields behind his Connecticut neighbors. In ``Reading Martin Chuzzlewit'' he admits that a rare visit to a mall makes him ``imagine a hidden life, an hour tangled with ribbons and sweet red surprises'' with the women he sees there. Tempted by an invitation to interview for a college presidency in his native Tennessee, he acknowledges that although a longtime critic of college athletics, he was prepared to consider football ``too trivial to become a matter of principle and prevent me from accepting'' such a position (``Sweet Auburn''); and while closing up his father's apartment, he discovers that ``selling is infectious, raising the fervor of the seller, more than that of the buyer'' (``A Different Seller''). The jokes are often outrageously corny, the whimsy strained, but they're all part of the delight Pickering so palpably creates in this endearing celebration of the ordinary, the profound, and, most of all, the absurd.

Pub Date: May 20, 1994

ISBN: 0-87451-640-4

Page Count: 264

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1994

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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

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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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