A touching and ultimately uplifting story of redefining what’s possible through faith.

Walking with Herb

A SPIRITUAL GOLFING JOURNEY TO THE MASTERS

In Bullock’s warmhearted and amusing fiction debut, a happily married banker on the verge of retirement finds himself called to become a prophet of God—and perhaps the golfing world’s newest celebrity.

Mild-mannered ordinary guy Joe Goodman, 63, is an avid golfer looking forward to puttering around the links during his imminent retirement. He’s happy with his life—happy to consider it nothing extraordinary. But the extraordinary intervenes. After a weekend contentedly watching the Masters Tournament on TV, Joe is at work when he receives a message from God on his computer (“Have you run out of stone tablets?” Joe asks). God tells Joe that, far from being a spectator, he’s going to play in the following year’s Masters, and—if his faith is strong enough—he’s going to win. This is nothing Joe has ever imagined, of course; like a long string of prophets before him, he asks, “Are you sure you’ve got the right guy?” In a series of smoothly controlled chapters, his unexpected journey unfolds. Joe’s heaven-sent companion on that journey is a man named Herb Friday, who assures him, “This is going to be hard work, but lots of fun.” Under Herb’s guidance, Joe quickly progresses through local and regional tournaments, gaining trophies and confidence despite the distractions he encounters at work, where busybody governmental regulations are making his bank’s ordinary operations more difficult. As the months pass, Joe’s supportive wife tells him she’s convinced that “God picked the right two guys for this mission.” As Joe’s game improves, Bullock adroitly brings alive the world of golf and connects it—without being heavy-handed or preachy—to the nature of personal belief. This isn’t just for golfers, though. Bullock’s gentle good humor sparkles throughout, and the story’s climax will bring a smile to just about any reader’s face.

A touching and ultimately uplifting story of redefining what’s possible through faith.

Pub Date: March 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4917-5795-6

Page Count: 170

Publisher: True Directions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2015

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

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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  • Rolling Stone & Kirkus' Best Music Books of 2020

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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. One of Kirkus and Rolling Stone’s Best Music Books of 2020.

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

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

WHY WE SWIM

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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