Although these writers invariably have something novel to say, there aren’t a lot of moments that will make armchair...

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THE BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING 2011

An eclectic but not particularly strong collection of pieces involving travel around the globe and around the yard.

Independent columnist Crosley (How Did You Get This Number, 2010, etc.) presents a wide variety of pieces, including André Aciman’s search for Monet sites in Bordighera, Christopher Buckley’s brief account of a year on a tramp freighter, Keith Gessen’s grousings about Moscow traffic and Emily Witt’s sophomoric snippets about her drinking and partying in Miami. At times, Crosley seems bent on juxtaposing pieces to see what light may emerge from the collision, say, between Téa Obreht’s peregrinations in the Balkans hearing vampire stories and Annie Proulx’s quiet walks around her Wyoming ranch observing the wildlife. At other times, the editor places shorter pieces (Gary Shteyngart’s cryptic ruminations about Russians in Israel) before longer ones (William T. Vollmann’s six visits to Kirkuk to learn about the Kurds and the explosive politics in the region). There are essays by writers who went to geographical extremes (Justin Nobel to Arctic Quebec, Verlyn Klinkenborg to a remote area of Australia, Maureen Dowd to Saudi Arabia) and those who stuck closer to home (Ariel Levy to the Hamptons for an enlightening piece about Indian casinos, Jessica McCaughey on a local hike where she tried to cure her inept internal GPS). Some pieces have moments that are downright harrowing: Mischa Berlinski’s views of earthquake devastation in Haiti, Tom Ireland’s time in Mumbai while terrorists were killing people.

Although these writers invariably have something novel to say, there aren’t a lot of moments that will make armchair travelers race out to renew their passports.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-33336-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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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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