A fine trove of byways—Pig Trail, Twentymile Bottom—with a guide who knows how to stop and smell the hops.


The Alternate Compass


Combination how-to book and guide to the secret pleasures of 21 nationwide highway motorcycle voyages, featuring plenty of craft-brewed beer.

More than a few folks would call these voyages heaven, and Anderson, a veteran of such adventures, paints the tours just so. The how-to element is like a checklist pilots go through before lifting off: what will you need to meet the weather, what equipment will prove invaluable, credit card scams to avoid, what’s in the medicine kit, when should you go with a group, when should you go it alone, etc. The guidebook provides the big picture: which are the best highways, what time of year is best to maximize visuals, etc. Decent color maps help, and photos will inspire your own notions of what to bring, be it a fishing rod, climbing equipment, or birder gear. The meat of the book is in its tips, which are plentiful and range from biking etiquette to the best huckleberry patch in Oregon. The point of these road trips is to get you into unique environments where you’ll become intensely aware of your surroundings in landscapes so remote that the only people you’ll see are the same ones over and over again amid back stretches of the Natchez Trace and all those microbrews. “They offered up a shot of tequila at one of the stops, but I advised them that I was good with the beer we had for breakfast,” says Anderson, who never had more than one for breakfast. Tongue in cheek, hopefully, Anderson writes, “You may consider carrying your passport as an option but also be reminded of no weapons or firearms if you do proceed north.” Though he claims to be not much of a writer, with the exception of occasional clownishness—“I do leave tight pants to the ladies”—the pleasingly unvarnished writing goes down smooth.

A fine trove of byways—Pig Trail, Twentymile Bottom—with a guide who knows how to stop and smell the hops.

Pub Date: July 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9964781-1-3

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Steamboat Pubs

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2015

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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