A pleasure for men entering autumn, and for anyone who knows how to flick a line.



Meditations on the art of angling, mortality and more in one of those charged places where meditations come easily—Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone is now in the news for its disconcertingly rumbling volcanoes, but Wetherell (Soccer Dad: A Father, a Son, and a Magic Season, 2008, etc.) inclines to timelessness and the eternal verities, since he is confronting the specter of turning 55, “the real big 5-5, not the phony big 5-0 that I had passed in a breeze.” When a man of a certain leaning has to face such portentous moments, he does so with reel in hand. “For most people,” writes the author, “trout fishing is a much handier motive than philosophy.” That sentiment echoes Norman Maclean, the great philosopher of American rivers, but Wetherell does more than echo. He offers a refreshingly original set of observations on all manner of things, particularly the advance of years, which men are supposed to endure stoically and with mouths clamped shut. Echoes of Robert Bly and Iron John? Some, but there’s none of Bly’s touchy-feely, drum-circle squishiness here. Instead, Wetherell recommends that men of his age light out for the territory, as Roald Amundsen set off for the poles and, at 54, dreamed of traversing the Arctic in a zeppelin. Men of his age, arthritic but increasingly wise, are not supposed to spend much time staring into mirrors, Wetherell counsels, even though, as he notes in passing, Montaigne wisely said, “Old age plants more wrinkles in the mind than it does on the face.” Looking into a glassy trout stream makes for a seemly substitute. So Wetherell, pondering the history and meaning of wild Yellowstone, concludes that fishing is what matters in life, and ties on a “big Wooly Bugger and [plays] the chuck-and-duck game instead.”

A pleasure for men entering autumn, and for anyone who knows how to flick a line.

Pub Date: March 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8032-1130-8

Page Count: 178

Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2009

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A rather chaotic and messy tale of talent, determination, and success in the world of independent film and TV that hardcore...


A quirky inside portrait of brotherhood within the “insane Hollywood system.”

Marx, Coen, Farrelly. Add to that list the Duplass brothers, who have been carving out a place for themselves as writers, directors, producers, and actors (Mark in The League, Jay in Transparent, etc.). In her foreword to this jumpy, eclectic collection of odds and ends, Mindy Kaling writes that the brothers are funny, “woke as hell,” and have a “tireless entrepreneurial spirit that inspires.” The brothers write that the book is “filled with essays on all kinds of things,” which isn’t exactly true. There are some—e.g., a short piece on why the band Air Supply is so good or the value of The Karate Kid Part II (even though “there are so many things wrong with this movie”)—but mostly this is a hodgepodge of autobiographical sketches, lists of favorite movies (actually the same list slightly edited over and over), emails, rough screenplays, advice to young filmmakers, Mark’s short story “The Blowjob,” edited by Jay, comments from their wives, and “Airport” 1-5, in which the brothers make up filmic scenarios inspired by the people they see walking and sitting about. We learn that they grew up outside New Orleans and had great boyhoods. Creative and ambitious kids, they played around with a video recorder their father gave them and started writing little scenarios and filming them. In 1996, they started Duplass Brothers Productions and got to work. We follow them in action as they fail (Vince del Rio) and succeed (Cyrus). They made The Puffy Chair for $10,000 and premiered it at the Sundance Film Festival. Other successes followed, including HBO’s Togetherness series (2015), until cancelled, and Room 104 (2017).

A rather chaotic and messy tale of talent, determination, and success in the world of independent film and TV that hardcore fans will enjoy.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-96771-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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The author’s consistently absorbing commentary on a wide variety of legal cases will require close attention by readers, but...



The retired Supreme Court justice chronicles his impressive life story, including his 34-year tenure with the court.

Born in 1920, Stevens (Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, 2014, etc.) recounts his privileged upbringing, early law career, and lower-court experience before providing nearly 400 pages of year-by-year decision-making as a Supreme Court justice. A Republican appointed by President Gerald Ford, Stevens transcended the party ideology of many court colleagues in order to work together with those appointed by Democratic presidents. Despite the conventional wisdom of court chroniclers who identify justices as “conservative” or “liberal,” the author’s majority opinions and dissents cannot be easily pigeonholed. He candidly shares his thought processes on hundreds of cases, often openly criticizing his fellow justices for their lack of legal acumen and/or lack of compassion. Stevens is frequently critical of justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas for the refuge they have sought in the theory of originalism. Refreshingly, though, the author never attacks his fellow justices in a personal, gossipy manner, and he discusses his varying degrees of friendship with each of them. Stevens theorizes that the dynamics of the court—and the nature of the rulings—undergo transformation every time a new justice joins. As a result, the author presents brief sections about the immediate impact of each new justice during his 34 years, ending with his successor in 2010, Elena Kagan. Although Stevens reveres the court’s reputation as a nonpartisan arbiter, he realizes that reputation has never fully recovered from the politically tinged 5-4 ruling in 2000 that handed the presidency to George W. Bush rather than Al Gore. The author also offers searing commentary on cases involving abortion rights, gun control, wrongful convictions in criminal courts, campaign finance, and many other ongoing societal issues.

The author’s consistently absorbing commentary on a wide variety of legal cases will require close attention by readers, but the payoff is worth it.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-48964-5

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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