When you’re done, even if you feel you’ve read all you need about sweet drugs and pert body parts, it’s hard not to like...

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THE UNSPEAKABLE WRITINGS OF TERRY SOUTHERN, 1950-1995

A darling of the postwar literary counterculture is honored in a tidy collection that makes coherent sense of what might have been a group of funny if disparate works.

Rather than reverting to chronology, Southern’s son (and literary executor) Nile and editor Friedman wisely divide the great man’s writings by genre (tales, new journalism, etc.) and subject (the film business, writing, etc.)—an arrangement that points out Southern’s strengths in each. Just as The Magic Christian and Easy Rider show his varieties of outrageousness, so do his short writings. The journalism (particularly his piece on working with “big Stan Kubrick”) reveals his ease at mixing tale-telling and corporate critique, while the letters, depending on your point of view, are either examples of fine verbal architecture or irritating self-involvement. His appreciations of other writers are personal and original, notably in his Paris Review interview with British novelist Henry Green and his love note on the weirdness of “Ed Poe” (as in Edgar Allan Poe). Of note to film historians is Southern’s go at adapting Arthur Schnitzler’s Rhapsody, A Dream Novel for the screen—the psychosexual drama Eyes Wide Shut would have been quite different if Kubrick had taken Southern’s tack of going “the comedy route.” As for sex and drugs, they waft throughout the collection, settling in as subject matter for such works as “A Conversation with Terry Southern and William Burroughs” and “Letter to George Plimpton: A Sports-Death Fantasy” (the latter involving ice cubes).

When you’re done, even if you feel you’ve read all you need about sweet drugs and pert body parts, it’s hard not to like Southern. He was big-hearted and irrepressible, an optimist of excess when it seemed such things were possible.

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8021-1689-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2001

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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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