A wild and witty musical memoir.

OFF THE CHARTS

WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY ALMOST FABULOUS LIFE IN MUSIC

Successful Canadian singer/songwriter Goldman offers a behind-the-scenes look at her life in the music industry.

The author has four albums, three Nashville competition wins, and 12 song placements in TV shows and movies under her belt, so she knows the ups and downs of the music industry—and what’s required to be a true “lifer” in the business. Goldman traces her career from her modest beginnings as a teenage singer in a Grateful Dead cover band to her songwriting successes in Toronto and New York City. She also tells the story behind her most popular 2002 song, “Annabel,” which was inspired by the memory of her grandmother, who died in 1997. Goldman’s narrative serves as a lively and entertaining compendium of music industry wisdom, with chapters featuring Goldman’s guidance on relevant topics, such as “How to Schmooze,” “Be Prepared to Improvise,” and “How Do You Know When You’ve Made It?” The author draws upon her personal journey in a relatable and heartfelt manner, and her anecdotes will educate and entertain readers in equal measure. She grounds her triumphs and tragedies in real-world advice to help readers navigate the complexities of an often mysterious industry. Goldman also pulls no punches regarding career disappointments, the pressure to succeed, and sexism in the music industry. However, readers will find hope in the example of Goldman’s success, which she achieved, in part, by being true to herself. Although the work has moments of gravity, Goldman also offers plenty of lighthearted humor: “Never mock a member of your audience…don’t yell, ‘Nice hairdo!’ at someone, I learned.” Overall, this is an excellent read for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of the music business, with advice on everything from songwriting to promotion, but it’s also an engaging narrative about self-definition and inner strength. Lively, music-themed black-and-white illustrations by Berkson are also included.

A wild and witty musical memoir.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-989555-32-3

Page Count: 170

Publisher: Sutherland House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 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 virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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