Mezrich probably won’t sway the skeptical, but fans of Art Bell and company will find all the affirmation they need.

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THE 37TH PARALLEL

THE SECRET TRUTH BEHIND AMERICA'S UFO HIGHWAY

Roswell? Area 51? In a book to make X-Files fans twitch in excitement, Mezrich (Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs—A True Story of Ambition, Wealth, Betrayal, and Murder, 2015, etc.) connects dots we didn’t even know existed.

“Is there a dead cow in the back of this truck?....It’s not the whole cow.” Chuck Zukowski is the sort of rural cop who calls for a geekier Dennis Weaver or Tommy Lee Jones to portray him, a sheriff’s reserve deputy in the high country of Colorado—geekier because he’s employed in the tech industry and no stranger to the intricacies of computers and telescopes. Yet, Zukowksi is also one of those fellows who “scour newspapers, check Internet boards, searching for anything that mentioned UFOs or unexplained sightings.” Then there’s the business of the livestock mutilations, a specialty of his, which explains the presence of those half-cows in the bed of his pickup truck: “He hadn’t intended to cart his current mutilation into Denver,” writes Mezrich of a typical Zukowski moment, “but as with any vocation, sometimes life got in the way.” As the author notes in a narrative that is occasionally redacted, these mutilations would seem to be endemic to Colorado, dating back to the 1960s and accompanied by sightings of UFOs. The tangled history of those mutilations and the efforts of Colorado citizens and politicians to find an explanation for them is worth the cover price of the book alone, but there’s more: Mezrich joins the odd facts of those unfortunate dead cows and horses to secret landing strips, shadowy corporations, and sunglasses-clad government agents, the usual stuff of every other ET exposé. The author does it better than most, but, apart from a nicely dramatic narrative, there’s not much definitive in the findings. Something’s clearly happening out there in the high meadows and along desert highways, but what it is remains a matter of speculation.

Mezrich probably won’t sway the skeptical, but fans of Art Bell and company will find all the affirmation they need.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3552-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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