An intimate, life-affirming look at a musician whose artistic journey is far from over.

BROKEN HORSES

A MEMOIR

The multiple Grammy Award–winning troubadour chronicles her life and career so far.

Carlile has quite a story to tell, and she digs deep into her memories of her formative years in the Pacific Northwest: poverty, evictions, transience, familial struggles with alcoholism and depression, and the meningitis that put her into a coma and accelerated her exit from childhood. Early in her adolescence, she knew she was gay, which brought a host of other challenges, not least because “I was told for most of my childhood by multiple sources that to be gay was a one-way ticket to hell.” Throughout the narrative, Carlile shows acute grace and clarity as she follows her navigation of certain rites of passage. Participating in her family’s band, she was a precocious child who loved the spotlight. After dropping out of high school, she continued her musical development with her own band and subsequent solo career. A turning point arrived with her collaboration with twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth, established fixtures on the Seattle scene who added vocal and instrumental richness and increased her credibility with her expanding audience. Like many musicians, Carlile had run-ins with labels and producers and experienced the physical and mental suffering that a balance of recording and touring can inflict. Then there’s the personal side: falling in love and fighting for the right to get married as a gay woman, have children, and take her children on tour. Along with lyrics and snapshots that suggest a scrapbook, the author provides crucial behind-the-scenes insight into her rise to stardom. Especially illuminating are her descriptions of the process of creating such songs as “The Story” and “The Joke,” showing how her personal struggles strengthened her art. The story builds to her Grammy triumphs, her role in the Highwomen supergroup, her co-production of childhood hero Tanya Tucker, and her friendships with Joni Mitchell, Elton John, and the Obamas. With plenty more likely to come, the memoir ends on a high note.

An intimate, life-affirming look at a musician whose artistic journey is far from over.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more