Upbeat, funny, unsparing, and way over the top…probably a lot like the man himself.

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GREAT DEMON KINGS

A MEMOIR OF POETRY, SEX, ART, DEATH, AND ENLIGHTENMENT

The ultimate scenester of midcentury Manhattan, lover to a who’s who of gay artists and writers, tells all in a posthumous memoir.

Giorno (1936-2019) made his first major appearance on the American cultural landscape in Andy Warhol’s 320-minute movie of Giorno’s slumbering face, Sleep (1964). This memoir is also overlong, but the author has plenty of interesting stories to tell. He quickly dispenses with his privileged childhood, though we do hear about his first poem, written during his sophomore year in high school: “I was like a baby Olympic athlete going over the high bar for the first time.” Giorno graduated from Columbia in 1958, bursting with self-confidence. “I was young and beautiful and that got me what I wanted and all I wanted was sex,” he writes, and proceeds to share an abundance of graphic detail. Andy Warhol never really enjoyed it, and his wig got in the way at key points, but Giorno found his toe-sucking “deeply moving.” A multiyear affair with Robert Rauschenberg was filled with bliss and joy and mind-blowing sex. (Rauschenberg was not looking forward to being memorialized by Giorno, but his threat to sue expired with his death.) Jasper Johns was the author’s lover during the exciting period when his Dial-A-Poem project was the hottest thing in New York City. William Burroughs was Giorno’s next great passion despite Burroughs’ small penis and his instigating a threesome with Giorno’s “nemesis,” Allen Ginsberg—and Ginsberg was everywhere. Even when the author went to India to seek enlightenment, there he was, “fat and full of ego, an embarrassing uncool dad.” After Ginsberg’s death, the author admits the two of them “did not do such a good job in this life…we will, sure as hell, continue in future lives.” If reincarnation exists, Giorno will surely document it for us.

Upbeat, funny, unsparing, and way over the top…probably a lot like the man himself.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-16630-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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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

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