An intelligent, witty perspective on the Trump years.

I TOLD YOU SO!

DONAL TRUMP: THE AWFUL YEARS

A veteran columnist chronicles the Donald Trump administration.

Even with his seasoned career as a senior producer for multiple PBS election specials and chief political correspondent of The Week Behind since 1995, nothing could prepare Connolly for the unprecedented nature of Donald Trump’s presidency. In this edited compilation of Connolly’s commentary, readers can relive the tumultuous Trump presidency through the lens of a battle-hardened political observer. From its opening page, which begins with a 2012 Sarasota County, Florida, “Statesmen of the Year Award,” the dissonance of Trump becomes wildly apparent, as the then-host of The Apprentice lambasted the media and political establishment for its unfair, “terrible” treatment of Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton—two figures he would himself harangue just four years later during his successful presidential campaign. Connolly’s smart, acerbic commentary walks readers through the Trump presidency, with concise editorials on the 2016 campaign, impeachment, mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic, post-election tantrums that culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, and more. Unsurprisingly, Trump presents as “mean, stupid, selfish…and unfit to be president.” Moreover, Connolly reminds readers that the ideologically nondescript Trump himself only took stances that favored his political or financial endeavors. On climate change, for instance, Trump fought “tooth and nail” against proposed wind turbines adjacent to his golf courses yet was equally passionate about building seawalls on an eroding Irish coast that threatened his property. While mostly centered on Trump, Connolly’s commentary also provides insights into his sycophants, like Sean Hannity, and rivals, like Hillary Clinton. Without minimizing the grave consequences of Trump’s actions, Connolly successfully balances astute analysis with humor. Ample altered images and other gags (such as a mock letter from Trump to Biden left in the Oval Office) complement this approach. Like all political commentary, particularly that which is read retrospectively, readers of all ideological persuasions will find passages that they politically disagree with, but many would likely agree that Connolly is a shrewd observer.

An intelligent, witty perspective on the Trump years.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2002

ISBN: 978-1-87-965229-3

Page Count: 282

Publisher: Dead Tree Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

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A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics.

MY BODY

The international model embarks on a nuanced investigation of her body and identity.

Ratajkowski’s exploration of fame, self-identity, and what it means to be a “beautiful” woman is surprisingly engaging. Originally thrust into the spotlight in 2013 due to her scantily clad appearance in the music video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” the author eventually became known for her stances about beauty and sexuality and how they are commodified. Now that she is a wife and mother, she writes, “I feel a tenderness toward my younger self. My defensiveness and defiance are palpable to me now. What I wrote and preached then reflected what I believed at the time, but it missed a much more complicated picture. In many ways, I have been undeniably rewarded by capitalizing on my sexuality….But in other, less overt ways, I’ve felt objectified and limited by my position in the world as a so-called sex symbol.” This short book includes the juicy tidbits that avid celebrity-memoir readers seek, and the author shares how she really felt about the video shoot and how the aftermath affected her. Beyond that, the book is a reflective coming-of-age-in-the-industry tale, a story that is never maudlin but contains a few thick, murky sections. Ratajkowski attempts to break down the construction of her identity and sexuality in relation to the ever present male gaze as well as her relationships with the women in her life. The charm of this book lies in the author’s largely relatable writing, which shows the complex emotions and confusion of a young woman experiencing her sexual development and maturation into a capable adult. Admitting that the “purpose of the book is not to arrive at answers, but honestly to explore ideas I can’t help but return to,” Ratajkowski grapples directly with a host of thorny issues.

A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-81786-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

THE COMFORT BOOK

Bestselling author Haig offers a book’s worth of apothegms to serve as guides to issues ranging from disquietude to self-acceptance.

Like many collections of this sort—terse snippets of advice, from the everyday to the cosmic—some parts will hit home with surprising insight, some will feel like old hat, and others will come across as disposable or incomprehensible. Years ago, Haig experienced an extended period of suicidal depression, so he comes at many of these topics—pain, hope, self-worth, contentment—from a hard-won perspective. This makes some of the material worthy of a second look, even when it feels runic or contrary to experience. The author’s words are instigations, hopeful first steps toward illumination. Most chapters are only a few sentences long, the longest running for three pages. Much is left unsaid and left up to readers to dissect. On being lost, Haig recounts an episode with his father when they got turned around in a forest in France. His father said to him, “If we keep going in a straight line we’ll get out of here.” He was correct, a bit of wisdom Haig turned to during his depression when he focused on moving forward: “It is important to remember the bottom of the valley never has the clearest view. And that sometimes all you need to do in order to rise up again is to keep moving forward.” Many aphorisms sound right, if hardly groundbreaking—e.g., a quick route to happiness is making someone else happy; “No is a good word. It keeps you sane. In an age of overload, no is really yes. It is yes to having space you need to live”; “External events are neutral. They only gain positive or negative value the moment they enter our mind.” Haig’s fans may enjoy this one, but others should take a pass.

A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-14-313666-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin Life

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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