The “shock of the new” is evident everywhere in this revealing, accessible, and luscious memoir.



With gusto, an exuberant architect considers his life and work.

Libeskind (Daniel Libeskind: Inspiration and Process in Architecture, 2015, etc.) describes his book as “esoteric concepts” transformed into a “visual feast.” In a reprinted page from Horace’s Art of Poetry, these lines jump out: “Such is the book, that like a sick man’s dreams, / Varies all shapes, and mixes all extremes.” It’s an apt description of this book, a lavish array of texts, full-page callouts in large, boldface type, pages of various colors, and sumptuous photographs of the author’s buildings, extreme in their curved and winding shapes and sizes, with massive, metallic edges and intersecting diagonal slashes. Born in Poland in 1946 (his parents were Holocaust survivors), Libeskind’s two early obsessions were the accordion and drawing. The family moved to the Bronx in 1959, and the author studied architecture at Cooper Union. He tells us he was a rebel: “I always try to depart from what has come before.” He was in his 50s before his first building was completed, the Felix Nussbaum Haus. Throughout, he discusses lifelong sources of inspiration: W.B. Yeats, The Little Prince, Michelangelo, James Joyce, Emily Dickinson, and music. Architecture, he writes, is “actually similar to a symphony, which, at its conception, is nothing more than code on paper.” Reassembling the pieces of a broken English teapot inspired his Imperial War Museum in Manchester, England. Libeskind invites us to take a visual and textual tour of some of his most important structures, including Milan’s CityLife, Singapore’s Reflections and Corals at Keppel Bay, Dublin’s Grand Canal Theatre, and the highly challenging and complex World Trade Center Master Plan. He also includes some of his city sculptures and furniture products such as chairs, a chess set, and a chandelier. Quoting Le Corbusier, his advice to young architects is simple: “travel” and “read books.”

The “shock of the new” is evident everywhere in this revealing, accessible, and luscious memoir.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-49735-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...


Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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