An earnest and straightforward, if familiar, guide to transforming one’s routines.

THE HEALTHY HABIT HANDBOOK

Better habits are the way to a happier, healthier lifestyle according to Antonenko’s debut self-help book.

Many people feel stuck when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, remaining fit, and achieving other life goals. They want to change but lack the motivation to do so. The author, a professional health coach, reassures readers that transformation is possible, no matter how bleak things may seem at the present moment. She knows this from experience, having faced many challenges on her journey to happiness, including the suicide of her first husband and chronic health problems of her own, such as ulcerative colitis. The author draws on this personal experience as well as her career as she outlines a multistep process for eliminating “patterns of destructive thinking” and developing healthy habits that she promises will lead to lasting, consistent improvements in one’s life. It begins, she says, with focusing on one’s momentum and “harnessing energy” so that one can get unstuck from old habits. Subsequent steps address one’s diet, mindset, and physical movement. The final step is “mastery,” in which repetition leads to “uncovering new patterns [that] can release us from lousy past behaviours and stop us from being tainted by our past mistakes, failures, and setbacks.” Throughout, Antonenko offers a supportive voice that enthusiastically urges the reader to “design the life of your dreams.” The advice is largely a mix of generic tips for healthy living (such as getting enough sleep, embracing mindfulness, eating a balanced diet, including minimizing consumption of sugars and processed food) and common self-help bromides about visualizing success and ignoring what other people think. However, Antonenko wisely focuses on permanently changing behaviors rather than promoting expedient solutions that may be harder to stick with in the long term. The book includes links to supplemental material on the author’s website, such as printable affirmation cards, a meal planner, and a separate exercise guide. This work stands well enough on its own, but it’s also intended as an introduction to Antonenko’s life-coaching offerings, which include follow-up courses, fitness accessories, and nutritional supplements.

An earnest and straightforward, if familiar, guide to transforming one’s routines.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5043-2079-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: BalboaPressAU

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 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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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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