Pinfield is a disarmingly likable guide through rock ’n’ roll’s twilight, though he occasionally epitomizes a music industry...

READ REVIEW

ALL THESE THINGS THAT I'VE DONE

MY INSANE, IMPROBABLE ROCK LIFE

A charming, rambling account of a life saved by rock ’n’ roll—and devoted to the music industry.

Pinfield, the host of MTV’s “alternative” show 120 Minutes, does plenty of decadent tale-telling and name-dropping while presenting himself as a lucky rock nerd who fell into his fantasy life. Obsessed with music from infancy, he claims, “the dream of access, of proximity, began when I was a kid sitting in front of my record player.” He compellingly portrays his late-1960s childhood as an era of ubiquitous, exuberant music beneath the surface strife. He began attending concerts obsessively as a teenager, while barely surviving a brain aneurysm solidified his connection to rock’s raunchy nonconformity: “As always, records got me through.” He began DJ-ing for the Rutgers University radio station and at New Jersey clubs just as punk and new wave were surging regionally. “It was a perfect time to be on college radio,” he writes. Pinfield shrewdly built his reputation, befriending bands as a thoughtful interviewer and developing a following on a small commercial station: “For years,” he writes, “well into the ’90s, we were the one stop every alternative act had to make.” This led to his jump to MTV, despite being “this bald barrel of a person with a voice like granite, spouting arcane rock trivia.” Similarly, this insider’s perspective took him to Columbia Records, where he signed hard-rock bands, looking for post-grunge hits, until the industry’s financial strife led to mass layoffs. Pinfield’s enthusiasm endured, and he ably discusses the cultural value of rock and the quirky, high-risk mechanisms of the industry. He breaks up the narrative with best-of lists and vignettes of encounters with big bands (KISS, U2, etc.), which can seem superfluous, and he’s frank about the dark side of rock culture, noting his own trips to rehab and some lapses into sleazy behavior.

Pinfield is a disarmingly likable guide through rock ’n’ roll’s twilight, though he occasionally epitomizes a music industry hustler.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-9389-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

more