Helpful “trance-breaking techniques” for a better life in front of and away from the screen.


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A media commentator offers tips and discussions on how to consume media more consciously.

Kajuth (Spiritual Fitness, 2005) provides analysis and exercises to more consciously “learn from the vast menu of fascinating viewing choices while filtering out messages that hook you into a false decision about life.” She suggests shifting from an unconscious “TV Trance” to a “SpyTV” mentality, investigating and thus becoming more aware of associations being drawn from viewing experiences, then assessing “RxTV” measures to accept, release, or replace those associations. Chapters cover bringing such mindfulness to media coverage of politics (watch without a predetermined point of view), depictions of relationships (question the common pairing of love with longing), and “reality” (watch out even for food shows, which may spur hunger and/or over-competitiveness). Kajuth urges extra care in assessing media with violent themes, and in a sci-fi-focused section, she offers a “Profound or Profane?” quiz to pinpoint one’s true beliefs. The final chapter, “The New Adventures of the Old You,” encourages the transfer of “conscious viewing skills to conscious living skills” and offers a variety of suggestions (exercise, read, reduce overall stress, etc.) and quizzes to map out your “Real Conscious life.” While Kajuth is certainly not the first to point out the dangers of our media-frenzied world, what’s nifty about her book is its alignment with the mindfulness movement and the idea that “your TV viewing habits are metaphors for how you live your life.” Her exercises serve as important reminders to slow down, calm down, examine and focus—in media viewing and in life. She’s upbeat and relatable, acknowledging her own viewing habits and believing that positive role models and ideas can be gleaned from more mindful viewing. The narrative can be a bit challenging to plow through, however, given the array of not-always-revelatory mentions of TV shows and several rather stress-inducing redirects to find “more up-to-date information” on her website. Overall, however, this intriguing self-help guide is highly relevant for modern times.

Helpful “trance-breaking techniques” for a better life in front of and away from the screen.

Pub Date: July 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-50-433567-6

Page Count: 246

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2015

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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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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.


The creator and host of the titular podcast recounts his lifelong struggles with depression.

With the increasing success of his podcast, Moe, a longtime radio personality and author whose books include The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton: A Parody (2015), was encouraged to open up further about his own battles with depression and delve deeper into characteristics of the disease itself. Moe writes about how he has struggled with depression throughout his life, and he recounts similar experiences from the various people he has interviewed in the past, many of whom are high-profile entertainers and writers—e.g. Dick Cavett and Andy Richter, novelist John Green. The narrative unfolds in a fairly linear fashion, and the author relates his family’s long history with depression and substance abuse. His father was an alcoholic, and one of his brothers was a drug addict. Moe tracks how he came to recognize his own signs of depression while in middle school, as he experienced the travails of OCD and social anxiety. These early chapters alternate with brief thematic “According to THWoD” sections that expand on his experiences, providing relevant anecdotal stories from some of his podcast guests. In this early section of the book, the author sometimes rambles. Though his experiences as an adolescent are accessible, he provides too many long examples, overstating his message, and some of the humor feels forced. What may sound naturally breezy in his podcast interviews doesn’t always strike the same note on the written page. The narrative gains considerable momentum when Moe shifts into his adult years and the challenges of balancing family and career while also confronting the devastating loss of his brother from suicide. As he grieved, he writes, his depression caused him to experience “a salad of regret, anger, confusion, and horror.” Here, the author focuses more attention on the origins and evolution of his series, stories that prove compelling as well.

The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20928-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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