A fun and revealing look behind the charm and mythos of Bill Murray that will only strengthen his legend.

THE TAO OF BILL MURRAY

REAL-LIFE STORIES OF JOY, ENLIGHTENMENT, AND PARTY CRASHING

A personal philosophy based on Bill Murray’s well-publicized high jinks, pranks, and exploits.

There are countless urban legends about Murray, including stories of him crashing karaoke rooms, a kickball game, and a couple’s engagement photos. (All true.) There are also stories of Murray putting his hands over the eyes of unsuspecting strangers while saying “Guess who?” only for him to end the brief encounter with the rejoinder, “No one will ever believe you.” (Also true.) Based on innumerable tales like these and others, notwithstanding his career as one of the most beloved actors of his generation, Murray has carefully crafted a reputation for himself as our culturally appointed jester-in-chief. However, there is a somewhat serious philosophical foundation to Murray’s antics. As author and journalist Edwards (Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind, 2013, etc.) explains in his funny, affectionate portrait, Murray’s seemingly nonchalant attitude and inability to take anything seriously is rooted in his sincere desire to make the most of life. Through 10 principles outlined by the author, the underlying tenet to Murray’s “philosophy” reveals itself to be a kind of existentialist/Zen mashup that preaches a heightened awareness of the present. The key to Murray’s philosophy is that it is not self-serving. Though he has become known for his carefree antics almost as much as for his acting roles, he does them out of earnest playfulness. Murray is not always the genial clown, as many collaborators have witnessed his attitude turn abrasive and acerbic. Edwards skillfully weaves together many well-known and entirely new anecdotes from throughout Murray’s career that capture him at the height of his power. Murray is an endless delight, and his knack for bons mots and non sequiturs will keep readers laughing before revealing an unexpectedly poignant vision for happiness. The author also provides a rundown of Murray’s major films for reference.

A fun and revealing look behind the charm and mythos of Bill Murray that will only strengthen his legend.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9870-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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The book begins in Sri Lanka with the tsunami of 2004—a horror the author saw firsthand, and the aftermath of which he...

LIVES OTHER THAN MY OWN

The latest from French writer/filmmaker Carrère (My Life as a Russian Novel, 2010, etc.) is an awkward but intermittently touching hybrid of novel and autobiography.

The book begins in Sri Lanka with the tsunami of 2004—a horror the author saw firsthand, and the aftermath of which he describes powerfully. Carrère and his partner, Hélène, then return to Paris—and do so with a mutual devotion that's been renewed and deepened by all they've witnessed. Back in France, Hélène's sister Juliette, a magistrate and mother of three small daughters, has suffered a recurrence of the cancer that crippled her in adolescence. After her death, Carrère decides to write an oblique tribute and an investigation into the ravages of grief. He focuses first on Juliette's colleague and intimate friend Étienne, himself an amputee and survivor of childhood cancer, and a man in whose talkativeness and strength Carrère sees parallels to himself ("He liked to talk about himself. It's my way, he said, of talking to and about others, and he remarked astutely that it was my way, too”). Étienne is a perceptive, dignified person and a loyal, loving friend, and Carrère's portrait of him—including an unexpectedly fascinating foray into Étienne and Juliette's chief professional accomplishment, which was to tap the new European courts for help in overturning longtime French precedents that advantaged credit-card companies over small borrowers—is impressive. Less successful is Carrère's account of Juliette's widower, Patrice, an unworldly cartoonist whom he admires for his fortitude but seems to consider something of a simpleton. Now and again, especially in the Étienne sections, Carrère's meditations pay off in fresh, pungent insights, and his account of Juliette's last days and of the aftermath (especially for her daughters) is quietly harrowing.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9261-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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