Those who endure anxiety will find Wilson’s thoughtful, often funny self-analysis to be just the right companion and...

FIRST, WE MAKE THE BEAST BEAUTIFUL

A NEW JOURNEY THROUGH ANXIETY

An affecting memoir of coping with anxiety over a busy lifetime.

“I am anxious often,” writes Australian TV journalist Wilson (I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook, 2014). “But it’s kept in check if I don’t get anxious about being anxious.” In a pleasantly meandering narrative that mixes what the author characterizes as “polemic, didactic and memoir,” she ticks off a long list of the many afflictions that she’s suffered: depression, hypomania, bipolar disorder, bulimia, insomnia, and, ever since childhood, anxiety. In response to them, she writes, she’s tried about everything, from various chemical amelioratives to neurolinguistic programming, Freudian psychotherapy, and even “sand play.” All of those illnesses, she avers, were variations on the same theme: anxiety, pure and simple. And she’s not alone; even though anxiety wasn’t classified as a mental disorder until 1980, as many as 1 in 6 people in the First World suffer from it, and men in particular suffer from anxiety in greater numbers than from depression. The developed-world part is important, since Wilson later wonders whether anxiety may not be a bourgeois sort of problem. In whatever instance, she observes, the whole business is a mess: “Anxiety…it’s befuddling and clusterfucky for everyone involved.” Having sorted through what she can, the author then looks into various things that she’s tried to deploy in order to ward off anxiety, from taking a long walk to trying to declutter a mental lifestyle that, as she memorably puts it, requires us to “keep multiple tabs open in our brains, which sees us toggle back and forth between tasks and commitments and thoughts. And all of it competes. And it clusters. And down we go in a hyper-tabbed tangle.” Small wonder that she quietly hints that it may be time to try a few psychedelics.

Those who endure anxiety will find Wilson’s thoughtful, often funny self-analysis to be just the right companion and affirmation.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-283678-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more