A disorganized guide but with enough information for readers to cherry-pick the most useful tips.

READ REVIEW

The Professional Musician

THE MUSIC - THE BUSINESS - THE CAREER - THE LIFE

Kelly offers a handbook for music-makers that covers an impressive breadth of topics.

The author is clearly an accomplished musician, which comes across in a quick glance at the several-pages-long table of contents, which is full of multiple headings and subheadings. The book includes sections on such topics as sound equipment, managers, goals, copyrights, unions, and different types of jobs that musicians can undertake. There are also tangential chapters, including “Personal Subjects,” which cover family, friends, and vices. Everything a musician would need to consider is on this list. However, the information in the book itself is poorly organized. The book starts with “The Value of An Education,” discussing different options for musicians to learn their craft. It’s not a bad place to start, but Kelly doesn’t define his audience first—what type and skill level of musician he’s addressing, or what their goals might be. Is the information intended for a basement-rock drummer or a hopeful professional session guitarist or a clarinetist looking to join a major orchestra? As a result, the book starts off-kilter. Some of the book’s advice seems like mere platitudes; a chapter called “Internal Resonance,” for example, addresses the more soulful aspects of being a player, and the first three subheadings are “Believe in Yourself,” “Self-Resilience,” and “Do It on Your Own.” These seem to say similar things in different ways, and sometimes unclearly: “By not behaving obsequiously and using ploys to get a job can also be refreshing and spiritually fulfilling.” There is some good advice in the book, as when the author counsels musicians to make contacts with people who work as sidemen for bigger artists, whom he calls “some of the most important people one can get to know….One can go from a fan to a peer.” He also helpfully offers the addresses of websites where one can find examples of effective resumes. Overall, the book offers to assist musicians who are looking to navigate a confusing and intimidating business. However, the book itself is often hard to navigate.

A disorganized guide but with enough information for readers to cherry-pick the most useful tips.   

Pub Date: March 16, 2015

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more