A piquant blend of oenophilia and self-study suggestions.




A retired professor discusses a new “philosophy of living” while drinking wine with friends in this debut self-help guide.

In the mid-1990s, Drinan, now a dean emeritus and professor emeritus at the University of San Diego, was traveling in Europe. There, he noticed that there always seemed to be about 12 drops left every time he and his wife polished off a bottle of wine. His daughter later gave him a book, A History of Wine in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage, which led to his discovery of cottabus, an ancient Greek game played at philosophical symposia. Largely a skills contest involving flinging wine dregs at particular targets, Drinan found it “not hard to imagine the zest of conversations as people played the game and speculated about what success or failure might mean in their lives.” Inspired by this idea, he sets forth “a new cottabus” in this book to serve as a “down-to-earth, regular way to tease out one’s philosophy of living.” His game is focused on shaping and sharing one’s “personal terroir,” the set of “practical wisdoms” that guide one’s life. He stresses a philosophy of “living” versus a philosophy of “life,” connecting his concept to Epicurus as well as Thomas Jefferson, an Epicurus-leaning wine lover. Drinan shares his affinity with Jefferson (he and his wife both attended the University of Virginia) and lists his own practical wisdoms, which include Voltaire’s maxim that “The best is the enemy of the good.” He readily admits that his idea for a book is rather playful, yet he rightfully emphasizes the often serious underlying value in frivolity. Certainly, his highly enjoyable exercise has merit, and today’s more thoughtful wine connoisseurs may particularly appreciate it. The author occasionally gets a bit too scholarly in his musings, such as when he imagines a dialogue between Epicurus and Jefferson, and he goes on a bit too long when setting up his initial thesis. Still, this is a charming book for anyone who relishes wine and wants to gain a greater understanding of oneself and others while imbibing it.

A piquant blend of oenophilia and self-study suggestions.

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-5023-5662-8

Page Count: 122

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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