An irreverent, candidly introspective exploration of toiling with loneliness that will leave readers feeling not so alone.

HOW TO BE ALONE

IF YOU WANT TO, AND EVEN IF YOU DON'T

One woman’s quest for companionship in a culture progressively geared toward isolation.

In her first book, about dealing with one’s own solitude, Moore—the Onion writer, former sex and relationships editor at Cosmopolitan, and creator of the comedy show Tinder Live!—doesn’t compile reams of statistics, comparative studies, or clinical evidence. Rather, she takes readers on a playful ride through her life, examining relationships and nonrelationships alike as she both actively engaged in and passively avoided assuaging that aching search for friendship and love. Swinging from the euphoria of newfound friendship to the despairing trenches of love lost, each chapter becomes a foray into universally themed experiences for women of all ages and sexual persuasions—e.g., “Please Just Be a Good Person So I Can Finally Be Someone Who Has Friends,” which details the adolescent exploits with her friends and the confusion of teen gender roles and intimacy between girls. In “I Liked Dating You Better in My Head,” Moore explores a long-term romance with a man that ended up unraveling into a textbook co-dependency in which the couple was in love with future possibilities rather than the empty reality of now. Moore’s fast-clip wit, hilarious allegories, and conversational prose knock down the uncomfortably sharp edges of facing aloneness. Comparing her own life to scientist Harry Harlow’s monkey love experiments, Moore teases, “I have always identified with the kind-of-dying monkeys who technically had food, but desperately wished they had softness and care too.” Later, in a brief manifesto of women’s romantic needs, she asks, “why did we stop wanting dinner and a movie and maybe flowers?....When did we start thinking that courtship was too time-consuming and everything romantic comedies waxed on about was just a dumb fairy-tale concept, instead of our expectations for romantic love? I’m tired of pretending I’m cool with whatevs. I’m tired of pretending that laziness can replace thoughtfulness and still be acceptable to me.”

An irreverent, candidly introspective exploration of toiling with loneliness that will leave readers feeling not so alone.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7883-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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