If it’s Tuesday, this must be yet another annual volume to dip into at random.

THE BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING 2000

The inaugural issue of an anthology of the year’s best travel pieces.

In his introduction, Bryson (In a Sunburned Country, p. 684, etc.) declares that “travel writing . . . is the most accommodating . . . of genres.” Judging from the assemblage here, it might be more accurate to say that he has been the most accommodating of editors: while searching for the “year’s best” in travel-writing, Bryson has selected some pieces (from journals as diverse as The Washington Post and Coffee Journal) that might be more accurately described as sportswriting or foodwriting and squeezed them in, like duffels in an overhead compartment. In the two-dozen-plus pieces we get such marriages of mind and matter as Dave Eggers ferrying hitchhikers around public-transportation–deficient Cuba, David Halberstam reflecting on changes in the life of Nantucket over the decades since he first visited the island, and P.J. O’Rourke approaching a late-20th-century India with as many faces as a statue of Shiva has arms. The longest piece, Isabel Hilton’s engrossing narrative on the clandestine maneuvers of the Tibetan government-in-exile, seems more distinguished as reportage than travel-writing. You might begin to ask whether we need yet another anthology of this sort, but should you argue with a collection whose subjects range from Mark Ross’s harrowing firsthand report as a victim of machete-wielding guerrillas on the Uganda border to Steve Rushing whimsically teeing off for the first World Ice Golf Championship in Greenland? For the travel-writing purist, there are pieces from Jeffrey Tayler on his sojourn in westernmost China and—though the destination may not be the farthest-flung—Bill Buford’s simple and straightforward account of spending the night in Central Park. By perusing this anthology you can see that we are traveling more and in widely divergent “modes,” and that magazine editors are evidently giving writers less room to reflect on their journeys: all the pieces except Hilton’s end a bit too soon, some with cutting-the-trip-short abruptness.

If it’s Tuesday, this must be yet another annual volume to dip into at random.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2000

ISBN: 0-618-07466-X

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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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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