If Kirn has continued reading the Bible, he should continue writing about it, for his responses to Job and the New Testament...

MY MOTHER'S BIBLE

A SON DISCOVERS CLUES TO GOD

In what reads like a Bible blog—a literary, layman’s interpretation—the author comes to terms with the death of his mother and a whole lot more after discovering her biblical notes and annotations.

As a highly respected literary critic, essayist and novelist, Kirn (Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever, 2009, etc.) inherited more skepticism than faith from his mother. He had not read the Bible until he discovered, after his mother’s death, that she had not only read it, likely more than once, but had taken copious notes. In those notes and the Scripture that inspired them, he discovered “my mother’s ghost. It swirled up out of the margins of her Bible and granted my wish to hear her voice again.” Thus motivated, Kirn began to read the Bible through the eyes of his “freethinker” mother and to confront the God who imbued mankind with sin and mortality—the God who let his mother suffer in her final stages. “Maybe because my first motive was love, I’m afraid there’s a lot of anger in what I’ve written,” he admits. “How could there not be? The half-shaved head. The morphine. The Bible stories themselves, so harsh and violent. Most of the anger is mine. Some is my mother’s. But all of it belongs to God in some way. It came from him; why not return it?” The entries are as short as they are provocative, frequently assuming an accusatory familiarity that fundamentalists might well find blasphemous.

If Kirn has continued reading the Bible, he should continue writing about it, for his responses to Job and the New Testament (as well as his mother’s) might well be even pricklier than what he offers here.

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61452-059-7

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Byliner

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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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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