Real life can’t get more compelling or shattering than in a pediatric emergency room, and Bonadio’s quiet, straightforward style makes the daily drama clear.
An emergency-medicine physician at the Children’s Hospital of St. Paul, Minnesota, Bonadio wonders daily at the privilege of parenting—the chance “to go beyond our mortal, flawed, and otherwise insignificant lives, to touch a hand on something infinite.” He is also staggered by its power: “there is no force in all creation more powerful or compelling or inspiring than a mother urging the needs of her child.” The death of a six-year-old hit by a car, a pregnant adolescent who attempts suicide, a toddler who nearly drowns—all of these tragedies are starting points for Bonadio’s musings on life and its lessons. The toll exacted on emergency-room staff is clear: Bonadio relates a nerve-wracking account of tracking down a teenager (a girl whose broken neck was overlooked by a colleague) by phone: “Let me talk to your brother. I want you to hand him the phone, then go lie down on your back, flat on the floor—look straight up at the ceiling, and don’t move or get up. Do you understand?”
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)
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").