SURRENDER

40 SONGS, ONE STORY

Chatty and self-regarding but pleasantly free of outright narcissism. A no-brainer for U2’s legions of fans.

The U2 frontman considers his life through the lenses of faith, family, activism, and, occasionally, music.

It’s not that Bono avoids discussing his world-famous band. He writes wittily about meeting future band mates (and wife) in school in Dublin and how he first encountered guitarist The Edge watching him play music from Yes’ album Close to the Edge. “Progressive rock remains one of the few things that divide us,” he writes. Bono is candid about the band’s missteps, both musical (the 1997 album, Pop) and ethical (force-feeding its 2014 album, Songs of Innocence, to every Apple iTunes customer). At nearly every turn, the author spends less time on band details than he does wrestling with the ethical implications of his successes and failures. Dedicating each of the book’s 40 chapters to a U2 song gives him a useful framing device for such ruminations: “Bad” deals with the loss of a friend to heroin, “Iris (Hold Me Close)” with the death of his mother when he was 14, “One” about the band’s own struggles. Considering Bono’s onstage penchant for sanctimony, his tone is usually more self-deprecating, especially when discussing his efforts to address AIDS in Africa and find the “top-line melodies” that would persuade politicians to release funding. He concedes being imperfect at the job; after a weak negotiation with then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, he recalls being berated by George Soros, who tells him he “sold out for a plate of lentils.” There’s little in the way of band gossip, and the author has a lyricist’s knack for leaving matters open to interpretation, which at times feels more evasive and frustrating than revealing. But he also evades the standard-issue rock-star confessional mode, and his story reveals a lifelong effort of stumbling toward integrity, “to overcome myself, to get beyond who I have been, to renew myself. I’m not sure I can make it.”

Chatty and self-regarding but pleasantly free of outright narcissism. A no-brainer for U2’s legions of fans.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-525-52104-4

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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TANQUERAY

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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LOVE, PAMELA

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

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The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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