Thoughtful, well-intended grandfatherly advice, well worth a bent ear.

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E-MAILS TO MY GRANDCHILDREN

INTERNET MENTORING THE NEXT GENERATION ONCE REMOVED

In this collection of epistolary essays, Nagle ruminates on a meaningful, enjoyable life, gradually accreting pearls of wisdom.

At 85 years old, Nagle found himself feeling “like a library, full of practical information,” wishing he could be to his grandchildren “what my own grandfather had been to me: a mentor and source of practical wisdom about living.” Here, he has set that wisdom to the page with hearty results. There’s much food for thought, and what readers disagree with may ignite a desire to frame their own notions. Readers will find themselves nodding along with Nagle’s dictum, “Living in a pretend external world is difficult. Living in a pretend inner world is madness.” They may, perhaps, be attracted to his suggestion that “our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.” Nagle’s soothing, folksy voice makes plain the power of greed, the importance of sleep and the devastation of stress. He provides a critique of income disparity—“the structure of government is not the rule of…those who can vote…it is now effectively based on capitalism”—before moving onto more practical discussions, such as how to bank a fire. He also touches on the evolution and migration of the soul. Autobiographical material is inserted when appropriate; there are wonderfully evocative scenes of working at the circus and the horse-drawn milk wagons of his youth (“Rankin Dairy used rubber shoes on their horses, but that only made the sound of their hooves striking the pavement more distinctive.”). He closes with a number of essays on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, but like the rest of the book, there’s nothing insistent or admonitory. This collection of wisdom is simply drawn from his life—humbly offered, commonsensical, all of it deeply mulled.

Thoughtful, well-intended grandfatherly advice, well worth a bent ear.

Pub Date: June 28, 2011

ISBN: 978-1462022038

Page Count: 364

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2012

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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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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

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Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.

THE DYNASTY

Action-packed tale of the building of the New England Patriots over the course of seven decades.

Prolific writer Benedict has long blended two interests—sports and business—and the Patriots are emblematic of both. Founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots, the team built a strategic home field between that city and Providence. When original owner Billy Sullivan sold the flailing team in 1988, it was $126 million in the hole, a condition so dire that “Sullivan had to beg the NFL to release emergency funds so he could pay his players.” Victor Kiam, the razor magnate, bought the long since renamed New England Patriots, but rival Robert Kraft bought first the parking lots and then the stadium—and “it rankled Kiam that he bore all the risk as the owner of the team but virtually all of the revenue that the team generated went to Kraft.” Check and mate. Kraft finally took over the team in 1994. Kraft inherited coach Bill Parcells, who in turn brought in star quarterback Drew Bledsoe, “the Patriots’ most prized player.” However, as the book’s nimbly constructed opening recounts, in 2001, Bledsoe got smeared in a hit “so violent that players along the Patriots sideline compared the sound of the collision to a car crash.” After that, it was backup Tom Brady’s team. Gridiron nerds will debate whether Brady is the greatest QB and Bill Belichick the greatest coach the game has ever known, but certainly they’ve had their share of controversy. The infamous “Deflategate” incident of 2015 takes up plenty of space in the late pages of the narrative, and depending on how you read between the lines, Brady was either an accomplice or an unwitting beneficiary. Still, as the author writes, by that point Brady “had started in 223 straight regular-season games,” an enviable record on a team that itself has racked up impressive stats.

Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982134-10-5

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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