An idiosyncratic but highly informative guide to retiring outside the United States.

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RETIRE ABROAD? THINK REAL HARD

Skelley-Bird walks readers through the steps required to retire abroad in this debut manual.

Plenty of people daydream about retiring to a different country—perhaps with a warmer climate or a lower cost of living—at one point or another. But how many actually consider the steps involved? Skelley-Bird retired with her husband, Darrell, to Panama (and subsequently moved back to Nevada). She is here to tell you that, while there are many hoops to jump through, retirement abroad is an achievable dream. “There were what seemed like hundreds of small details that required attention, as well as literally dozens of not-so-small tasks to accomplish,” writes the author. “Within these covers you will find my time-lined detailed ‘To Do’ List, without which I would have lost my mind.” Skelley-Bird, using her own experiences as an example, informs readers about all the obvious (and not-so-obvious) actions involved, from selling their houses, cars, and most of their possessions to hiring an immigration attorney and figuring out living arrangements and insurance in the adoptive country. The author shares the experiences of other expat couples who have chosen to move to Panama as well as a couple who considered that nation but ended up remaining in the United States. Along with numerous photos and spreadsheets documenting the various preparations, Skelley-Bird offers advice on the less-tangible aspects of making the decision (such as interrogating the motivation for moving). Nearly everything costs more than one would expect, but the author is here to attest that retiring abroad is possible for those willing to do the homework and legwork. Skelley-Bird writes in a cheerful, accessible prose that reflects the original Facebook notes upon which this book is based. Her editorial voice captures her quirky personality, as displayed in the original list of priorities that she and Darrell made when selecting a country: “No hurricanes, which ruled out most of the Caribbean,” and “Close enough to the States that friends would visit. (Without exception, every person we asked said they would not visit if we moved to New Zealand; the flight is just too long.)” The manual is based heavily on the experiences of Skelley-Bird and couples whom she knows, which means that it is perhaps overly specific to the Panama scenario. Even so, much of the information it contains is applicable to moving anywhere outside of America, and the process by which Panama was chosen illustrates many of the practical compromises that a would-be expat must make. The author includes many useful pieces of advice that might not occur to retirees itching to make the plunge. For example, about half of Americans (including the author) who retire abroad find that they dislike it and end up moving back home. For this reason, renting out your house in the United States as opposed to selling it (and renting a place in the new country) is advisable, at least for the first year. The book’s specificity and the author’s real-world experiences make this smart reading for Americans thinking about spending their golden years in another country.

An idiosyncratic but highly informative guide to retiring outside the United States.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 385

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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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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