Sure to please Drummond’s many fans but may not convert those unfamiliar with the Pioneer Woman.

FRONTIER FOLLIES

ADVENTURES IN MARRIAGE AND MOTHERHOOD IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

More anecdotal tales from the Pioneer Woman.

Best known for her cookbooks and Food Network show, Drummond offers readers a glimpse into her personal life with her family and animals on her Oklahoma ranch. Her latest book, she writes, is “a silly celebration of the everyday moments of my life in rural America, and every single story you’ll read is true.” It is not, she admits, “a sustained narrative, except in the sense that love is woven throughout.” In these vignettes spanning more than two decades, the author recounts a variety of mildly amusing stories: spooking her husband, Ladd, with a rubber snake, as well as the reciprocal tricks he plays on her; why she does the dishes when they argue; nicknames for each other; and lists of 20 interesting things about each of them (“I could sleep in a bed of crumbs and never notice”). On a more serious note, Drummond discusses motherhood and home schooling, the problems with summer on a cattle ranch, and struggling with a sound disorder called misophonia. It’s not long, however, before the author is right back to humorous tales about cows, including the castration of young bulls and how to prepare the testicles. Drummond includes a few recipes, but her aim here is less about instruction than about sharing her lifestyle, which she does with a conversational, sometimes overly cutesy tone. She also includes lists of what foods to stockpile, the names of the horses on the ranch, and why her prized rosebush died: “My poor, beloved plant had experienced death by urine, also known as nitrogen burn….Ladd had killed my rosebush by peeing on it repeatedly.” Overall, the author offers a scattered yet well-rounded portrait of her life behind the TV show and cookbooks.

Sure to please Drummond’s many fans but may not convert those unfamiliar with the Pioneer Woman.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296275-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 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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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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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: May 15, 2021

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