An account provides rich insights into the psychology of cosplayers but lacks the depth that would attract a wide audience.

READ REVIEW

ANATOMY OF A COSPLAYER

TALES FROM BEHIND THE MASK

A cosplayer explores the phenomenon that has him portraying a galactic Stormtrooper and other characters.

Comic book conventions these days feature parades of grown men and women dressed up as action heroes and other characters, proudly posing for photographs and reveling in the rising popularity of costume play, or cosplay. The global market for cosplay costumes, which reached $11.7 billion in 2014, is forecast to grow to $23.6 billion by next year. In this book, Hannon (Lost Boys of the Bronx, 2010), an avid cosplayer, shares his experiences and examines this intriguing trend. The author’s own fascination with cosplay began with attending a Star Wars exhibition, which resulted in him putting together a Stormtrooper costume and joining the 501st Legion, a pioneering “costuming community,” whose membership has roughly tripled since 2008 to more than 12,000. He “struggled with shyness” but after his first event, or “troop,” with the Legion—a Halloween parade—he came out of his shell. He added other characters to his repertoire, co-founded the Legion of SuperVillains, and enjoyed the camaraderie of other cosplayers. “Forget about the TV show Cheers, conventions are truly the place where everyone knows your name,” he writes. The book also deftly spotlights some of Hannon’s costume-loving friends, many of whom found in cosplaying a way to express their inner geeks or “live out a childhood fantasy.” “You can relive your childhood, but also bring joy to the next generation, as little kids love this kind of thing,” says one, while another asserts, “Let’s be honest, it’s so we can play pretend.” But the author’s use of an oral history format often produces dreary reading and his account fails to offer the depth that would make it compelling to non-cosplayers. He mentions, for example, that he has seen the breakups of costumed couples firsthand, but rather than examine how cosplaying might contribute to marital tensions, he refrains from getting into specifics. Ultimately, he fails to bring as much color to the participants as they do to the characters they inhabit. Still, Hannon provides a lively insider’s view of cosplaying, delivering some vivid details. For example, the crowds at conventions have become “absolutely horrible,” but—very much on the plus side—the 501st Legion raised $889,000 for charity in 2017.

An account provides rich insights into the psychology of cosplayers but lacks the depth that would attract a wide audience.

Pub Date: June 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5462-4712-8

Page Count: 412

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

OPEN BOOK

The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

Did you like this book?

more