A dramatic and often absorbing theory of the spirit world.



A spiritualist offers more of his insights into the meaning of life and the afterlife.

Chodl follows up Connections (2016) with this sequel chronicling his further endeavors as a self-proclaimed psychic medium. He asserts that he has 15 “Guides,” each from “the Legions of the Archangels” who are “preparing for the next cleansing of this plane”; he says that these Guides help him render aid and make connections between living people and the spirits of those who’ve “passed over” to another plane of existence. Regarding the latter, Chodl professes a great deal of information: “Once we transition from this three-dimensional plane,” he writes at one point, “we will, once again, be reawakened to our connection to the Akashic Field of All Knowledge.” Chodl compares himself to John the Baptist, noting that his job is to “prepare the way” (adding puckishly, “I just have to be careful not to lose my head over it”) and to lay the groundwork for something called the Gathering, a “collective of people (souls), who…have come to the realization that there is a universal truth and access to the sum of all knowledge.” Chodl engagingly describes a world brimming with supernatural elements—one in which the spirits of friends and family who’ve died may contact the living and fill a void in their lives. They also make living people’s later transition to a new plane easier to accept, according to the author: “The familiarity of the loved one smooths the process of transition as it affects the living,” he writes. Overall, the author clearly lays out his spiritual systems over the course of this work. However, at one point, he quotes the famous maxim that “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; no one is entitled to their own facts,” without offering convincing evidence for the factual basis of his book’s claims. Even so, even skeptical readers will find that his narrative is never less than interesting.

A dramatic and often absorbing theory of the spirit world.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982247-99-7

Page Count: 186

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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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

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.



The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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