A calming and gently thought-provoking reminder that the simplest wisdom is often the truest.

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MY SOUL SINGS FOR YOU

SPIRITUAL PEACE IN THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NOW

A motivational guide to simpler living that taps into its author’s experiences.

In her attractive nonfiction debut, Tripp draws in part on her time in East Africa in the 1950s, recalling some straightforward advice she was given about hippos and alligators. Gators, she was told, are very dangerous and live in swamps—so stay out of swamps if you don’t want to get eaten. That advice is typical of her direct approach. “Please don’t overlook the wisdom in simplicity,” Tripp writes in a sentiment that runs throughout the book. “If you don’t want to set yourself up for pain, don’t go where you know the potential for pain exists. If you don’t want to be eaten by alligators, do not venture into the swamps, at least not willingly.” She calls her book an “anthem to my Creator” and draws heavily on her life story, emphasizing optimism and flexibility in the face of life’s uncertainties. “I’ve learned always to expect the unexpected,” she writes, “and to smile at my Creator’s sense of humor.” Her book frankly acknowledges that modern life seems designed to attack and destroy peaceful simplicity. She reflects on how plugged-in she once was to that world, with feeds and notifications constantly bombarding her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, and elsewhere until Tripp felt like she was “ADHD on steroids.” She bravely took a step that others only dream about: “I announced on my Facebook profile page that I was reining in my activity on social media to passionately pursue the business and personal goals aligned with my purpose.” Through life lessons and her Christian insights, she seeks to provide antidotes to that continual noise and chaos. Her narrative voice is inviting; her candid optimism will likely comfort even her non-Christian readers, though her sentiments can range from the biblical—“Love never fails”—to the familiar-but-ridiculous: “That which doesn't kill us can make us stronger.” She urges people never to underestimate the power of prayer or the value of friendship, and such ideas, though commonplace, are always worth repeating.

A calming and gently thought-provoking reminder that the simplest wisdom is often the truest.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-973672-35-7

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

HOW TO BE AN ARTIST

A noted critic advises us to dance to the music of art.

Senior art critic at New York Magazine and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, Saltz (Seeing Out Louder, 2009, etc.) became a writer only after a decadeslong battle with “demons who preached defeat.” Hoping to spare others the struggle that he experienced, he offers ebullient, practical, and wise counsel to those who wonder, “How can I be an artist?” and who “take that leap of faith to rise above the cacophony of external messages and internal fears.” In a slim volume profusely illustrated with works by a wide range of artists, Saltz encourages readers to think, work, and see like an artist. He urges would-be artists to hone their power of perception: “Looking hard isn’t just about looking long; it’s about allowing yourself to be rapt.” Looking hard yields rich sources of visual interest and also illuminates “the mysteries of your taste and eye.” The author urges artists to work consistently and early, “within the first two hours of the day,” before “the pesky demons of daily life” exert their negative influence. Thoughtful exercises underscore his assertions. To get readers thinking about genre and convention, for example, Saltz presents illustrations of nudes by artists including Goya, Matisse, Florine Stettheimer, and Manet. “Forget the subject matter,” he writes, “what is each of these paintings actually saying?” One exercise instructs readers to make a simple drawing and then remake it in an entirely different style: Egyptian, Chinese ink-drawing, cave painting, and the styles of other artists, like Keith Haring and Georgia O’Keeffe. Freely experiment with “different sizes, tools, materials, subjects, anything,” he writes. “Don’t resist something if you’re afraid it’s taking you far afield of your usual direction. That’s the wild animal in you, feeding.” Although much of his advice is pertinent to amateur artists, Saltz also rings in on how to navigate the art world, compose an artist’s statement, deal with rejection, find a community of artists, and beat back demons. Above all, he advises, “Work, Work, Work.”

A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08646-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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