Capably written but perfunctory pieces that will fail to please any but the most devoted readers.

THE FORCE OF SPIRIT

Mixed essays on matters of life, death, and academia.

Sanders (Hunting for Hope, 1998) opens with a meditation on the loss of loved ones, the inevitable leave-taking of children who grow up to make lives and homes of their own, and the advancing years—events that can easily set a person to wondering what life is all about. He goes on to recount his long-standing concern with scriptural questions, venturing thoughtful readings of biblical passages and offering a few conclusions on the spiritual plane. Some of these are elegant in their plainspoken sincerity: “I no longer believe that Jesus can do our dying for us; we must do that for ourselves, one by one.” Sanders goes on to deliver fine pieces on such topics as the many kinds of wood that make up his Bloomington, Indiana, house (whose patterns, he claims, point to the underlying order of nature) and the importance of diversity in agriculture and culture alike. His energy soon flags, however, and he strays far from the questions of spirit his title promises into hurried, even throwaway essays on the books he keeps in his bedroom and the kind of writing he expects from the college students in his charge. His least successful essays are second-person addresses to his father and other family members (“Whenever I get irritated by the latest corruption or cruelty in the daily news, I remember you grumbling as you read the paper”), epistles that unfold with all the subtlety of a greeting card and lower the average considerably.

Capably written but perfunctory pieces that will fail to please any but the most devoted readers.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8070-6296-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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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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