A reassuring but disappointingly brief guide to centering oneself.

KNOWING THE DEEPEST HAPPINESS

A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO MINDFULNESS AND A WORKBOOK TO CREATE DAILY RICH-U-ALLS FOR OPTIMAL WELL-BEING!

An overview of various Buddhism-infused mindfulness practices.

Barnhardt, a professor emeritus at Boise State University, structures his nonfiction debut around practices that he awkwardly calls “Daily RICH-U-ALLS”; he gave the concept this name “because it enriches (RICH) me (U) and (ALL) those around me.” He then provides readers with a broad-spectrum approach to finding inner peace. He notes that the more that he practiced mindfulness, the happier he became, and he arranges the chapters of his book by pairing mindfulness exercises with ample open space for readers to write their own reflections. The exercises tend to be fairly straightforward, asking questions such as “What don’t you love about yourself?” and “What are the obstacles that are standing in your way to exhibit kindness?” The author grounds many of his mindfulness precepts in visions of real-world equality, as achieved through activities such as the Blue Zones Project, which aims to encourage healthy life choices. “We stand on the scales of justice either to create greater advantage for ourselves,” he proclaims, “or to bring greater advantage to those who…have not had the good breaks in life.” Overall, Barnhardt’s narrative voice is easygoing and approachable throughout, and his manner of working references to other writers, such as Jack Kornfield or Nisargadatta Maharaj, into his text is effectively casual. He champions some aspects of mindfulness that will be very familiar to readers of the self-help genre, such as self-assessment and heightening one’s awareness of one’s impact on others. However, his calm enthusiasm in presenting them will pleasantly carry readers along. Indeed, they may wish that the author had included more of his own observations rather than giving over so much of his book to lined pages for readers’ responses.

A reassuring but disappointingly brief guide to centering oneself.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72837-198-6

Page Count: 174

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BROKEN (IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY)

The Bloggess is back to survey the hazards and hilarity of imperfection.

Lawson is a wanderer. Whether on her award-winning blog or in the pages of her bestselling books, she reliably takes readers to places they weren’t even aware they wanted to go—e.g., shopping for dog condoms or witnessing what appears to be a satanic ritual. Longtime fans of the author’s prose know that the destinations really aren’t the point; it’s the laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-your-face journeys that make her writing so irresistible. This book is another solid collection of humorous musings on everyday life, or at least the life of a self-described “super introvert” who has a fantastic imagination and dozens of chosen spirit animals. While Furiously Happy centered on the idea of making good mental health days exceptionally good, her latest celebrates the notion that being broken is beautiful—or at least nothing to be ashamed of. “I have managed to fuck shit up in shockingly impressive ways and still be considered a fairly acceptable person,” writes Lawson, who has made something of an art form out of awkward confessionals. For example, she chronicles a mix-up at the post office that left her with a “big ol’ sack filled with a dozen small squishy penises [with] smiley faces painted on them.” It’s not all laughs, though, as the author addresses her ongoing battle with both physical and mental illness, including a trial of transcranial magnetic stimulation, a relatively new therapy for people who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. The author’s colloquial narrative style may not suit the linear-narrative crowd, but this isn’t for them. “What we really want,” she writes, “is to know we’re not alone in our terribleness….Human foibles are what make us us, and the art of mortification is what brings us all together.” The material is fresh, but the scaffolding is the same.

Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-07703-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more