A helpful guide for readers hoping to move beyond self-blame that’s holding them back.

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OUT OF LOVE

FINDING YOUR WAY BACK TO SELF-COMPASSION

A writer/teacher learns to move beyond her guilt—and suggests how others can do the same—after a mastectomy, the end of her marriage, and her husband’s suicide.

Debut author Ingheim, a doctoral student at the California Institute of Integral Studies, has experienced her share of tragedy: In 2016 she received a breast cancer diagnosis and had a double mastectomy. The next year, she found the courage to leave her nearly 10-year marriage only to receive a call later that night that her husband had killed himself after receiving the news. Overcome with guilt and self-loathing, she eventually learned to move forward by practicing self-compassion, or “recognizing that the voice that wants to blame you for something that is in no way, shape, or form your fault is just that—a voice that doesn’t speak the truth.” She explains how she did it and offers tips for others with similar concerns in 67 brief chapters that blend self-help with reminiscences of her Seventh-day Adventist childhood, her challenges after her husband died, her life with a stepson by a happy second marriage, and other ups and downs. Jumping around chronologically, she offers vignettes from her own life and examples of how practicing “self-compassion” has helped her cope with difficult issues. In a chapter entitled “Scars,” for example, she describes both her physical and emotional scars and invites readers to contemplate what they’ve learned from their own wounds. Every chapter ends with a prompt that encourages self-reflection, so the people who will benefit most from this book are those who are willing to do some deep soul searching and consider questions like, “When do you beat yourself up?” or “Who or what brings you alive?” The brevity of the chapters and the frequent chronological shifts may give some people mental whiplash, but those who are willing to spend time reflecting on her prompts should be able to begin to “let go of the guilt and the ghosts” and begin their own journeys toward self-compassion and healing. 

A helpful guide for readers hoping to move beyond self-blame that’s holding them back.

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63152-695-4

Page Count: 216

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

OPEN BOOK

The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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