“Most people who read for pleasure sooner or later find themselves in the pages of a novel. When I first read John P. Marquand’s Point of No Return, I was struck by the precision with which it conveys what it feels like to partake of an experience that was and is central to American life…”
Archives for November 10, 2009
Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong is reviewed in the December issue of The Atlantic:
Teachout, an estimable critic, biographer, and former jazzbo, draws on newly available recordings and writings to limn the fullest portrait to date of the most popular and beloved figure in 20th-century music. This volume candidly explores the intersection of messy life events (drug use, marital strife, embouchure woes, and a public, segregation-prompted lambasting of President Eisenhower), personal paradoxes (a moody, profane, passive disposition at odds with the signature smile and deeply charismatic persona), and great art. It also offers shrewd analyses of many Armstrong compositions, including the chart-topping yet critically dismissed later works….
Read the whole thing here.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is sending me on a coast-to-coast tour in support of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong. Here are the readings that I’ll be giving in December:
• BOSTON, DECEMBER 3: Boston Athenaeum, 10½ Beacon St., 6:00 p.m.
• NEW YORK, DECEMBER 7: Barnes & Noble Lincoln Triangle, 1972 Broadway, 7:30 p.m.
• LOS ANGELES, DECEMBER 8: Los Angeles Public Library, 630 W. Fifth St., 7:00 p.m.
• BALTIMORE, DECEMBER 9: Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St., 6:30 p.m.
• PHILADELPHIA, DECEMBER 10: Philadelphia Free Library, 1901 Vine St., 7:30 p.m.
• CHICAGO, DECEMBER 15: Highland Park Library, 494 Laurel St., 6:00 p.m.
• ST. LOUIS, DECEMBER 16: Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid Ave., 7:00 p.m.
• NEW ORLEANS, DECEMBER 17: Garden District Bookshop, 2727 Prytania St., 5:30 p.m.
I’ll also be doing quite a bit of radio along the way. Watch this space for details.
Last week I posted a photograph of the Signet paperback edition of Louis Armstrong’s Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans. It was published in the good old days when most mass-market paperback covers were designed in such a way as to suggest that the contents were thoroughly lurid.
In honor of the upcoming publication of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, one of my computer-savvy readers decided to do a bit of tinkering with the cover of the Signet edition of Satchmo. I was so delighted by the results that I decided to post them here as well.
I wish I could claim that Pops is that juicy! At least I can assure you that some of Armstrong’s letters are very definitely for adults only….
“Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.”
Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams