A vivid collection of essays expertly blending reporting, history, humor and one man’s abiding affection for a city’s quirks.

GONE TO NEW YORK

ADVENTURES IN THE CITY

Generous slices of New York wry, from humorist/essayist Frazier (The Fish’s Eye, 2002, etc.).

Though currently a New Jersey suburbanite, Frazier resided for years in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. In these 22 pieces from the Atlantic Monthly, Double Take, Mother Jones, Outside and the New Yorker, the native of Hudson, Ohio, celebrates Gotham as only a wide-eyed transplant could. The essays begin in 1975—when the city teetered toward bankruptcy—and end in 2005, when, post-9/11, Frazier wished that city residents would “remain our hopeful, foolish selves while caught up, now inextricably, in the wider world.” Like predecessors A.J. Liebling and Joseph Mitchell, he chronicles the manically funny. More often, he rejoices in the infinite idiosyncrasies encouraged by the city. Three essays describe his hobby of snagging bags out of trees—a penchant so pronounced that his wife grew skeptical when he began bringing some bags home. In marvelous detail, he profiles George Wittig, who climbed the World Trade Center in 1977, as well as an octogenarian master of the lost art of manual-typewriter repair. Frazier even strings together graffiti in a reading room at Columbia University’s Butler Library into a hilarious casual essay. He is equally at home delivering a Whitmanesque hosanna to Brooklyn, a dissection of the groups riding the F Train and a chronicle of Canal Street, jammed with as much sound, character, incident and history as the colorful neighborhood itself.

A vivid collection of essays expertly blending reporting, history, humor and one man’s abiding affection for a city’s quirks.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2005

ISBN: 0-374-28163-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2005

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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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