MY IDEAL BOOKSHELF

An illustrated compendium of first-person musings by writers, artists and other creative types about the books that inspired them and helped shape their identities.

When writer/editor La Force and illustrator Mount decided to put together this delightful collection of essays, it wasn't simply to express their love of reading and the written word. They sought to make the statement that "in an era when digital technology…threatens irreversibly to change our reading experience, there is nothing that parallels the physical book." They chose friends, acquaintances and people whom they "admired from afar"—Jonathan Lethem, Jennifer Egan, Alice Waters, Mira Nair and Patti Smith, among others—and asked them to pick the books that most influenced them. La Force pairs each of the 100 essays she gathered from personal interviews with images Mount painted of the books (specifically, their spines) each participant chose for his or her "ideal bookshelf." The pieces are as unique as the people they represent and reveal the particular relationships participants have with the texts they mention. Lethem calls his choices "eccentric," a reflection of a "decrepit attraction" to old books and the "literary history that lie[s]…waiting to be discovered" in early editions. Chef and restaurateur Alice Waters identifies her bookshelf as commemorating the texts that started her on her epicurean journey. Nair spotlights choices that not only introduced her to English, Urdu and Hindu poetry, but also to the writer who later became her husband. La Force and Mount's joint efforts do "sentimentaliz[e] the book as object," but what they achieve clearly demonstrates that, despite the encroachments of computers and the Internet, books still matter. Other contributors include Chuck Klosterman, Dave Eggers, David Sedaris, Michael Chabon and Judd Apatow. A bibliophilic feast for the eye, mind, heart and soul.    

 

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-20090-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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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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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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