A quietly provocative collection.

GOODBYE, AGAIN

ESSAYS, REFLECTIONS, AND ILLUSTRATIONS

A Canadian writer and illustrator transforms his perceptions of the everyday in his own life into a series of highly personal reflections.

Sun—who holds a master’s degree in architecture from Yale, is a doctoral candidate in urban planning at MIT, and wrote for the sixth season of the Netflix series BoJack Horseman—took three years from a ferociously busy schedule to turn inward and scrutinize “every thought that passed me by.” Though he was supposed to be resting, rather than simply let his mind “meander,” he decided to document everything that passed through his mind: “Otherwise, I told myself, all this break-taking, this intentionally unproductive time, would not be ‘worth it.’ ” Sun opens with an essay about his failure to notice features about an apartment where he once lived—e.g., where a power outlet was located. The topic appears mundane, but it is ultimately symptomatic of what consumed Sun’s attention and left him “burned out”: work. In several essays, the author describes work as his antidote “to…nothingness and emptiness.” Later in the book, Sun muses on the guilt that fuels his work ethic, observing that he wouldn’t get anything done without it. His “go slow” approach—which he admires in parents who “linger at restaurants”—manifests in essays about lessons in observation and the natural world learned from houseplants. In “How To Cook Scrambled Eggs,” for example, Sun transforms several egg recipes into an homage to his parents and the family memories each recipe allows him to rediscover and savor. Illustrated throughout with simple line drawings, this quirky book offers insight into the workings of an exceptionally busy, productive mind as well as the price of living in a hypercompetitive society where “we are all burned out and don’t have enough time” and it’s important to “steal moments away from yourself whenever you can.”

A quietly provocative collection.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-288085-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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

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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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A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

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PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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