A parenting memoir and travel guide that will inspire families to have new experiences.

PASSPORTS AND PACIFIERS

TRAVELING THE WORLD, ONE TANTRUM AT A TIME

Entertaining vignettes and useful advice by a mother of four who’s been traveling with her children since they were infants.

Jain shares amusing anecdotes and things she’s learned during her journeys with her kids in the United States and abroad in a blend of engaging remembrance and practical travel manual. She advocates traveling with kids as a means to instill in them a sense of compassion and a love of new experiences, but the key goal is to have fun together as a family. The story loosely follows the Jain family’s trips (which sometimes included the children’s grandparents) to destinations in New England, California, and Canada as well as in Costa Rica, the Bahamas, the Azores, Italy, and Scandinavia, with flashbacks to some of the author’s own travel adventures before she had kids. The transitions between the various accounts are sometimes abrupt, making the narrative feel disjointed. The adventures include well-known tourist attractions, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Disneyland, in addition to wildlife observation, hikes, and ferry rides. Most chapters feature one or two “Lesson Learned” sidebars that offer practical advice on such topics as choosing accommodations, deciding what to pack, applying for passports, and finding ways to afford it all. She effectively stresses that both children and travel can be unpredictable, so resourcefulness and flexibility are essential. The author has a flair for apt descriptions: She compares a crowd in the Sistine Chapel to “four-year-olds clustered around a soccer ball” and bikes in Copenhagen at rush hour to “the mosquitos of Belize,” and she muses about mountains “capping the earth like meringue on a pie.” Her voice is down-to-earth and her sense of humor and commitment to environmental sustainability are evident throughout.

A parenting memoir and travel guide that will inspire families to have new experiences.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73596-000-5

Page Count: 268

Publisher: Boston Bels Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2021

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

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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