A people person offers a friendly, occasionally amusing peek behind the curtain of the radio business.

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WHERE DO I BEGIN?

STORIES FROM A LIFE LIVED OUT LOUD

A memoir of a successful career built on a lifelong love affair with radio.

Duran, whose program is “the most-listened to Top 40 morning show,” presents himself less as a DJ and more as a people connector. He is in the business of making friends, both with unseen listeners and with the stars who appear on his broadcasts and reveal hidden dimensions of their characters. As much as he admires Howard Stern—“a hero to radio people,” he writes, and then continues, “he’s our North Star”—Duran’s own personality and approach are much different. The author is not abrasive and doesn’t try to put people on edge or make them uncomfortable. His radio program is more like a safe haven, where celebrities can let down their hair and be themselves, where those of whatever political affiliation or sexual orientation can feel like they belong. As a child of Dallas exurbia, Duran felt like “a weird kid trying to fit in.” He was not athletic or outgoing, and he realized he was somehow different than the rest of the kids even before he recognized that he was gay—or even knew what that meant. Radio offered a refuge and a connection, a place where he felt like he had a friend and could make friends. He started broadcasting from his own makeshift studio in his bedroom and then pursued it as a vocation. At first, he worked for small Texas stations before moving on to Houston (where cocaine almost derailed him) and other stops before landing in New York, where he has reigned as the morning host at Z100. He has made it seem easy, but here the author shows how and where it hasn’t been: the firings and job switches, the personal tolls in terms of romantic relationships, the dedication it takes to get to the top and stay there. Of radio, he writes, “it’s not about transmitters. It’s not about ad rates. It’s about connecting with people.”

A people person offers a friendly, occasionally amusing peek behind the curtain of the radio business.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-982106-33-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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