A wryly observed collection from a reliably good writer.

MY LIFE AS A VILLAINESS

ESSAYS

In her first book of nonfiction, bestselling crime novelist Lippman gathers 15 essays on motherhood, family life, and her writing career.

Except for the six months after college when she worked part-time at “the finest Italian restaurant in Waco, Texas,” Baltimore native Lippman always earned a living by her pen. First, she was a newspaper reporter who eventually went to work for the Baltimore Sun. Then, in 1997, she fulfilled a childhood fantasy and became a novelist. Here, the author offers a collection of personal essays that she started writing in 2017, in part to overcome a “distaste for the first-person pronoun.” Mining personal experiences for material, Lippman provides humorous insights into her life as a writer, mother, and wife to acclaimed TV writer and producer David Simon. She opens the book with an essay about finding self-acceptance at age 60. After spending too much time struggling with her body image, she finally learned to say “the most infuriating [thing]” possible for a middle-aged woman: that she actually liked the way she looked. A positive self-image was the gift she wanted to give her young daughter, whom she discusses in “Game of Crones.” Bucking convention, Lippman became a first-time mother to an adopted daughter while in her 50s, which led to numerous questions about whether the child was her granddaughter. A dedicated career woman, the author reveals how motherhood “made me less robotic [and] more inclined toward improvisation and spontaneity” and marked the beginning of the most successful period in her writing career. Yet for all her fame, Lippman still sees herself as a “happy gherkin alongside a big dill,” Simon. Showrunner for TV cult favorite The Wire, Simon still keeps “pushing, pushing, pushing” and inspiring Lippman to never “live inside…success.” Candid and quirky, this book will have special appeal to fans of her crime fiction.

A wryly observed collection from a reliably good writer.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-300715-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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