Captivating, artfully wrought tales.



Heartfelt stories bear eloquent witness to hopes, dreams, and triumphs.

Storytelling—in theaters, on a podcast, and on a weekly public radio show—is the mission of the nonprofit organization The Moth. From the thousands of stories shared since its founding in 1997, editor Burns (The Moth Presents All These Wonders, 2017, etc.), the organization’s artistic director, offers selections from an international roster of presenters. Some storytellers may be familiar to readers: Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash reflects on feeling anxious and disoriented after moving to New York with her children after her divorce. On a similar theme, New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik considers how his daughter’s imaginary friend taught him what he really wanted from living in Manhattan. Psychologist and memoirist Andrew Solomon writes about starting his own “post-nuclear family” with his husband despite “complicated and difficult and elaborate circumstances.” Emmy-winning performer Faith Salie relates her obsessive search for the perfect dress to wear to divorce court. Most voices are new, imparting intimate, moving anecdotes about life, love, friendship, parenthood, and identity. Several presenters disclose the tensions over coming out as gay, dealing with poverty and homelessness, or confronting others’ perceptions of oneself as different. Undergraduate Aleeza Kazmi, of Afghan and Pakistani heritage, proclaims that she has “worked so hard to love the skin I’m in, and nothing anyone says can take that away from me.” Activist Barbara Collins Bowie recalls growing up in Mississippi during Jim Crow, when her mother’s health crisis made her realize that the civil rights movement was “a fight for life and death.” Mary Theresa Archbold, who stealthily hid her prosthetic arm from friends and roommates, writes of the challenges of being a one-armed mother of an infant. British polar explorer Ann Daniels, mother of triplets, risked her life in defiantly trekking to the North and South Poles. Vietnamese engineer Jason Trieu tells the wrenching story of escaping from South Vietnam two weeks before the region fell to the North, one of several tales of resilience and determination in the face of terror.

Captivating, artfully wrought tales.

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-90442-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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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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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

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...



The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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