ON WITH THE BUTTER!

SPREAD MORE LIVING ONTO EVERYDAY LIFE

An upbeat and sincere primer on living one’s best life.

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A sunny self-help guide that aims to reveal the secret to an active and exuberant lifestyle.

This lively and passionate motivational book’s title is a nod to an Icelandic saying, “Áfram með smjörið,” which means “keep moving” or “forge ahead.” It’s this spirit of continual growth and momentum that Icelandic-American author Herman focuses on as she encourages readers to have an open mind when it comes to life’s varied experiences. Happiness can mean something different for everybody, she says, which is why it’s important to figure out what one’s personal definition of happiness is. But in order to do this, she asserts, one must willingly surrender to the unknown in order to embrace the life’s ups and downs; this, in turn, brings one closer to realizing a specific vision of happiness and fulfillment. Even this book’s chapter titles are optimistic and inviting, such as “Just Say Yes,” “Walk on the Wild Side,” and “Enjoy the Simple Things.” Likewise, Herman’s literary voice is warm and trusting as she shares her own challenges and heartaches. At one point, for example, she discusses her initial excitement after signing up for a race called Warrior Dash, which was followed by overwhelming fear and self-doubt. To her surprise, she completed the challenging marathon course faster than she expected, and the result was a renewed confidence in her own abilities: “With that achievement under my belt, I felt like there was nothing I couldn’t accomplish if I wanted it.” More mature readers will appreciate Herman’s perspective on aging; rather than see it as something to delay or avoid, she emboldens readers to greet it with open arms—because it provides a wealth of opportunities for new experiences. The book includes a “Challenge Checklist” at the end of each chapter to help readers start brainstorming about new goals and future milestones. There’s also a handy resource section with a list of volunteer and travel organizations.

An upbeat and sincere primer on living one’s best life.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947233-03-4

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Hekla Publishing LLC

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

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GREENLIGHTS

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

CALL ME ANNE

A sweet final word from an actor who leaves a legacy of compassion and kindness.

The late actor offers a gentle guide for living with more purpose, love, and joy.

Mixing poetry, prescriptive challenges, and elements of memoir, Heche (1969-2022) delivers a narrative that is more encouraging workbook than life story. The author wants to share what she has discovered over the course of a life filled with abuse, advocacy, and uncanny turning points. Her greatest discovery? Love. “Open yourself up to love and transform kindness from a feeling you extend to those around you to actions that you perform for them,” she writes. “Only by caring can we open ourselves up to the universe, and only by opening up to the universe can we fully experience all the wonders that it holds, the greatest of which is love.” Throughout the occasionally overwrought text, Heche is heavy on the concept of care. She wants us to experience joy as she does, and she provides a road map for how to get there. Instead of slinking away from Hollywood and the ridicule that she endured there, Heche found the good and hung on, with Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford starring as particularly shining knights in her story. Some readers may dismiss this material as vapid Hollywood stuff, but Heche’s perspective is an empathetic blend of Buddhism (minimize suffering), dialectical behavioral therapy (tolerating distress), Christianity (do unto others), and pre-Socratic philosophy (sufficient reason). “You’re not out to change the whole world, but to increase the levels of love and kindness in the world, drop by drop,” she writes. “Over time, these actions wear away the coldness, hate, and indifference around us as surely as water slowly wearing away stone.” Readers grieving her loss will take solace knowing that she lived her love-filled life on her own terms. Heche’s business and podcast partner, Heather Duffy, writes the epilogue, closing the book on a life well lived.

A sweet final word from an actor who leaves a legacy of compassion and kindness.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781627783316

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Viva Editions

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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