Readers approaching their senior years will find a wealth of insights and motivation in these pages.

THE SEVEN GRACES OF AGELESS AGING

HOW TO DIE YOUNG AS LATE IN LIFE AS POSSIBLE

Twelve interviewees share how to “live all of life,” far into the elder years, in this self-help work.

In his sixth book, Elias sets out seven key tenets for reframing aging, gleaned from his 50 years as a psychologist and Chinese medicine practitioner. Twelve “pathfinders” speak to readers in excerpts from his interviews with them. These “modern-day sages” range in age from late 70s to 100-plus. Elias embraces “elderhood” as an opportunity for examining where one has been and where one refuses to go. As such, the book isn’t a bucket-list pep talk; instead, it encourages readers to remember their past selves, as when it asks them to revisit long-shelved dreams and pursue them once again. The work also suggests, among other things, that readers rewrite their life “scripts”; practice mindfulness; awaken joy through humor; exercise; and find one’s “tribe.” The author’s commitments to meditation, seeking presence, and other spiritual concepts dominate the latter parts of the book, but he designates “mind over matter” as the central theme. He effectively draws on his own experiences, as well, to round out his message, which isn’t focused on how to live a longer life, per se, but on ways to pack one’s latter years with vitality. The language is lively and often fun, in part because a colorful profile of each pathfinder opens every chapter. For instance, 80-year-old Carolee Schneemann, a maverick artist and feminist who in her youth attended Bard College on a full scholarship, says that she was once suspended for a year because she painted a nude self-portrait. Widespread recognition of her talents came late in her life, when, in 2015, the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg showed a retrospective of her art called Kinetic Painting. Her advice? “Keep sexually alive, eat kelp, and have a pet!”

Readers approaching their senior years will find a wealth of insights and motivation in these pages.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9966542-3-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Five Element Healing Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2021

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

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GREENLIGHTS

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

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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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