For Brosh’s millions of fans, this is well worth the wait.

SOLUTIONS AND OTHER PROBLEMS

The award-winning author and illustrator delivers the long-awaited sequel to her 2013 bestseller, Hyperbole and a Half.

During the past decade-plus, Brosh has amassed a devoted fan base, most of whom first fell in love with the Hyperbole blog she began in 2009. Much of that material, which consisted of random musings, hilarious stories, and colorful, primitive drawings, ended up in her first book, a bestseller that earned glowing reviews from Elizabeth Gilbert and Bill Gates. Then Brosh, who has been open about her battles with depression, seemingly disappeared, much to the consternation and concern of her devotees. Originally slated for release in 2016, Solutions and Other Problems was perpetually postponed without explanation. The author covers some of the backstory here, which includes her divorce and her sister’s tragic death. “We’d always had a strange relationship, and I wasn’t prepared for it to be over,” she writes. “I don’t think either of us understood how much I loved her. It seemed like there’d be enough time to sort it out.” Thankfully, Brosh’s storytelling is so distinctive and compelling it’s like suddenly running in to a friend you feared was lost forever. The important thing is that she’s back, with fresh material and more than 1,600 pieces of art. Like her last book, this one draws heavily from her unconventional childhood. She recounts stories about getting stuck in a bucket and stalking her neighbor, and, of course, there are plenty of dog stories. Brosh also hilariously describes an experiment with drugs that reads like a budget-friendly version of an Ayahuasca ritual. She contemplates daydreams, wars with technology, and her efforts to befriend herself. The author reliably channels the simplicity of a child or the innocence of an animal and tells raucous, heartbreaking stories that reflect the hidden parts of us all. The existential kaleidoscope occasionally gets trippy, but the majority of the book is nourishing and warmly satisfying.

For Brosh’s millions of fans, this is well worth the wait.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982156-94-7

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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