A surprisingly vibrant and rewarding volume spotlighting the true nature and largely unacknowledged heart of a pharmacist.


A veteran pharmacist and international speaker chronicles his 33-year career through the tribulations of his customers. 

Sharing stories that have “stumbled around my head and heart, some for years,” Wright (It’s Good to See You Again, 2016) offers brief anecdotes of varying degrees of poignancy, cheer, friendliness, panic, and goodwill from the retail pharmacy where he worked. He begins his book with an admission that, initially, his duties revolved more around the multitiered aspects of clinical knowledge, regulations, and safety measures than on social interaction. With the accumulation of customer encounters, he notes, came a different perspective and a “deeper awareness” of the patient experience from the dispensary side of the business. “Like a good novel,” he writes appreciatively, “all the elements of drama are there: life, death, laughter, love, and dynamic characters.” His anecdotes, most barely over a page in length, are potent, affecting, introspective, and infinitely relatable; readers will recognize some aspect of themselves in many of these vignettes. Spanning periods as far back as 1975, when Wright was just out of the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy, he remembers the first time witnessing a customer taking pills he’d just dispensed in his presence. Other accounts feature late-night phone calls and unexpected visits from worried customers looking for unbiased assurance and advice, colicky babies, asthma sufferers, and Plan B seekers. The book’s brevity is least appreciated after Wright divulges a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in 2006 when he began existing on both sides of the pharmacy counter and his “faith in medicine got a test.” But the minimal details may leave readers wanting to know more about the author. Adding to the allure of this collection are the many pearls of pharmacy wisdom closing several stories. Wright taps into the wellspring of reflective episodes and experiences that informed his rich career and, though he recognizes that pharmacy work is demanding, he writes that it also can be greatly fulfilling, life-affirming, and heartwarming. Within these eloquently presented memories, the author reveals the essence of his livelihood: to compassionately and professionally tap into the vital connection between “a very trusting public and very potent chemica1s.

A surprisingly vibrant and rewarding volume spotlighting the true nature and largely unacknowledged heart of a pharmacist.  

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-578-02876-7

Page Count: 93

Publisher: Summit Press

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2019

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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