A wide-reaching collection of tidbits about work of all sorts.

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THE WORLD'S OLDEST PROFESSIONS

AN UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY OF WORK

A whimsical, alphabetical guide to occupations both obscure and familiar, some long-forgotten, others still being carried out by today’s workforce.

From abbess to zymologist, Voorhees (Shooting Genji, 2014) traces the origins of some of history’s earliest jobs. (Yes, Voorhees acknowledges that his book’s title is a euphemism for prostitution.) A few of the job titles will be familiar to contemporary readers; others, like agister (“an official in the royal forest who looks after cattle that are allowed to live and feed in the forest for a certain amount of time”) and kemp (“a big, strong, brave warrior or athlete”), are more archaic. Most entries are accompanied by at least one citation, some reaching back to the works of classic Roman writers. Essays, many of which have been previously published, on the more detailed histories of some of the terms are interspersed throughout the text. For instance, the miller entry leads to a précis on the labor movement in the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts. Perhaps no one ever posted a help-wanted notice for “cannon fodder,” but the drover—“someone who leads such animals as cattle or sheep to sometimes distant markets”—was once a significant aspect of the labor force. Readers who delight in obsolete slang will take note of “hackster” (aka a pimp) and “jack pudding,” a 17th-century term for a clown. A large portion of the jobs included here come from the English-speaking world, but a considerable number are drawn from non-European countries such as China and India. The idiosyncratic selection of professions makes it difficult to conclude whether this book aims to be an encyclopedia or a collection of well-organized trivia. Regardless, it is without question engaging in its scope and approach. Some of the shorter entries may send readers on a search for further explanations or documentation, and despite the densely filled pages, readers are unlikely to be bored even by the longer entries.

A wide-reaching collection of tidbits about work of all sorts.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 354

Publisher: Smashwords

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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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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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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