Practical if often shopworn advice on how to move beyond unfulfilling relationships.

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BIG WILD LOVE

In her self-help debut, Murray encourages women to let go of unsatisfying relationships by following a 6-step plan that builds on a popular TEDx talk she gave on the topic.

Murray had an “epiphany” after her boyfriend, Hector, stood her up for an appointment to go house-hunting with a real estate agent: Even though they’d been together for 12 years, he was never going to commit. That realization helped prompt her to ditch that romance and set her sights on what she calls “Big Wild Love,” or “a deliberate, intentional pursuit of taking care of oneself that allows a woman to see herself perhaps for the very first time.” In this book-length pep talk, she urges others who feel stuck—whether in bad marriages or unrewarding relationships of another sort—to cultivate self-love and to go for what they most want in life. Using real-life examples culled from women who reached out to her after her TEDx talk, “The Unstoppable Power of Letting Go,” Murray describes a 6-step process that she believes can bring people through the “tunnel of pain” and into the light of their own “Big Wild Love.” Some of her advice will be overfamiliar to frequent consumers of self-help books—endorsing “self-care and self-love” are clichés of the genre—and the writing can be hokey: “Beyond those raw and inflamed nerve endings comes a wondrous regrowth—of resilience and fortitude and veracity.” But along with bromides like “be realistic” and “acknowledge your mistakes,” Murray offers more practical steps toward turning things around, such as planning “a two-day relationship detox” that follows the hour-by-hour schedule she suggests. She also offers writing prompts on topics like, “Do I fear that I won’t be OK if I take a risk?” As for whether her advice works: For some readers, Murray’s experience will speak for itself. After leaving the dithering Hector, she met a better man for her on Match.com. After four dates, they moved in together, and after 14 months, they got married.

Practical if often shopworn advice on how to move beyond unfulfilling relationships.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63152-852-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

HOW TO BE AN ARTIST

A noted critic advises us to dance to the music of art.

Senior art critic at New York Magazine and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, Saltz (Seeing Out Louder, 2009, etc.) became a writer only after a decadeslong battle with “demons who preached defeat.” Hoping to spare others the struggle that he experienced, he offers ebullient, practical, and wise counsel to those who wonder, “How can I be an artist?” and who “take that leap of faith to rise above the cacophony of external messages and internal fears.” In a slim volume profusely illustrated with works by a wide range of artists, Saltz encourages readers to think, work, and see like an artist. He urges would-be artists to hone their power of perception: “Looking hard isn’t just about looking long; it’s about allowing yourself to be rapt.” Looking hard yields rich sources of visual interest and also illuminates “the mysteries of your taste and eye.” The author urges artists to work consistently and early, “within the first two hours of the day,” before “the pesky demons of daily life” exert their negative influence. Thoughtful exercises underscore his assertions. To get readers thinking about genre and convention, for example, Saltz presents illustrations of nudes by artists including Goya, Matisse, Florine Stettheimer, and Manet. “Forget the subject matter,” he writes, “what is each of these paintings actually saying?” One exercise instructs readers to make a simple drawing and then remake it in an entirely different style: Egyptian, Chinese ink-drawing, cave painting, and the styles of other artists, like Keith Haring and Georgia O’Keeffe. Freely experiment with “different sizes, tools, materials, subjects, anything,” he writes. “Don’t resist something if you’re afraid it’s taking you far afield of your usual direction. That’s the wild animal in you, feeding.” Although much of his advice is pertinent to amateur artists, Saltz also rings in on how to navigate the art world, compose an artist’s statement, deal with rejection, find a community of artists, and beat back demons. Above all, he advises, “Work, Work, Work.”

A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08646-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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