A witty rock memoir delivered with arty, aphoristic verve.

I DIE EACH TIME I HEAR THE SOUND

A MEMOIR

The former Soul Coughing frontman recalls moments from a musician’s life that are funny, infuriating, or just too strange not to share.

Doughty’s debut, The Book of Drugs (2012), was a relatively conventional addiction memoir, relating how his appetite for narcotics was exacerbated by his status as a famous-ish 1990s bandleader. In this follow-up, the author dispenses with an extended narrative arc and instead constructs the book out of brief anecdotes, some as short as a paragraph, relating tiny epiphanies and disappointments. Many of them turn on the phrase “the world was absolutely new,” usually relating to moments of musical revelation—e.g. hearing Nirvana and the Replacements for the first time or playing with an idol like the MC5’s Wayne Kramer. But Doughty’s earnest proclamations of glowing fandom have a counterweight in his seeming knack for attracting low-grade calamities into his life. There’s the roommate who climbed onto a fifth-story ledge, drunk; the producer of a Soul Coughing best-of album who sowed discord with his estranged band mates; a supposedly game-changing invitation to write a song for an X-Files soundtrack that ultimately fizzled; moments of disorientation in Kyoto, Shanghai, and a Las Vegas strip club’s Champagne Room. It’s all relatively inconsequential stuff in isolation, but Doughty has a finely honed, smirking style of observation that justifies most of the vignettes: The strip club’s bathroom was “as bright and cold as a Whole Foods”; a Tinder date “had written her profile in half-disguised twelve-step argot”; Shanghai’s skyscrapers “look like they were drawn on a coaster.” Together, the book accrues an entertainingly bemused, why-is-this-happening-to-me vibe, and Doughty’s terseness evokes the simple quirkiness of a Lydia Davis short story. Fans will appreciate his stories of struggling to finish his breakthrough solo album, Haughty Melodic, but he’s a talented observer in many contexts.

A witty rock memoir delivered with arty, aphoristic verve.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-306-82531-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: today

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