A richly detailed portrait of Frost in his own words.

THE LETTERS OF ROBERT FROST, VOLUME 3

1929–1936

The latest installment of the poet’s letters, in which he becomes a celebrity.

Meticulously edited by scholars Sheehy, Richardson, Hass, and Atmore, the third of a projected five volumes of letters of Robert Frost (1874-1963) covers the poet’s life from 1929-1936, when his reputation soared. The 602 letters and telegrams, 70% previously uncollected, afford a comprehensive view of Frost’s family, work, and friendships as well as opinions on human nature, academia, and art. A literary star, Frost fulfilled myriad obligations: teaching, lecturing, serving as poet-in-residence, and giving a prodigious number of readings. In 1931, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Collected Poems; many other honors followed. When his friend Louis Untermeyer failed to win a Pulitzer in 1936, Frost commiserated. “I have suffered nervous collapse in my time from the strain of conscious competition and learned from it how to pretend at least that I am below or above it for the rest of my life,” he wrote. “And I’m a good stout pretender when I set out to be.” Along with professional success, though, came personal misfortune. In 1931, his beloved daughter Marjorie and daughter-in-law Lillian were both in sanatoriums for tuberculosis. “We are in many many troubles for the moment,” he confided, “so many that grief loses its dignity and bursts out laughing. I toughen it seems to me.” When Marjorie died of puerperal fever, in 1934, he was disconsolate. Many letters reveal Frost’s prickly opinions on politics and poets. For example, he disparaged Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and scorned “modernismus” in poetry, although he admired Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. “For my part,” he wrote, “I should be as satisfied to play tennis with the net down as to write verse with no verse form set to stay me.” Besides an informative introduction contextualizing the letters and consistently rigorous footnotes, the editors provide a biographical glossary and a narrative chronology.

A richly detailed portrait of Frost in his own words.

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-674-72665-9

Page Count: 752

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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

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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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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