Boisterous, exciting true tales of a fearless doctor traversing the seas to help people all around the world.

A WILDER LIFE

JOURNEY OF AN ADVENTURING DOCTOR

A doctor shares her medical adventures in wild places.

Louwrens begins her globe-trotting memoir in 1980 in Swaziland, delivering a graphic description of an ambulance ride with a sugarcane worker who’d been run over by a tractor. “The stagnant air trapped in the back of the ambulance reeks of past calamities,” she writes evocatively. From that introduction, the narrative gallops along, taking readers to the author’s many medical posts in remote areas across the planet. Among other experiences, she writes about her time aboard an icebreaker heading toward Antarctica, a stint in the Australian Outback, and her work as a doctor during a 10,500-kilometer biking expedition that ran from Istanbul to Beijing along the Silk Route. At each post, she offers compassionate, memorable stories of her patients and their injuries and ailments: crushed fingers, uncontrolled bleeding, rabies, suicidal ideation, and even dental work, with which she had little experience. Throughout the text, Louwrens revels in the natural world around her, even during difficult journeys. For example, she remained exhilarated and awed by the power of the ocean even as she and her fellow shipmates endured seasickness while traversing some of the most dangerous waters in the world. She was also clearly fascinated by the birds and other wildlife she encountered. The author’s prose is concise and conversational, with solid dialogue and descriptions that place readers in the moment and effectively brief historical backgrounds on each locale. Despite her ability to handle each emergency, Louwrens, impressively talented yet humble, managed to second-guess herself prior to accepting new posts, constantly hounded by “the demon of incompetency,” which “whispered taunts in my ears.” The photos and maps are welcome bonuses to the page-turning narrative, which is sure to delight armchair adventurers and medical enthusiasts alike.

Boisterous, exciting true tales of a fearless doctor traversing the seas to help people all around the world.

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77619-112-3

Page Count: 260

Publisher: Jonathan Ball Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

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PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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