An appealing guide to lessening anxiety and increasing overall wellness.

CALM & SENSE

A WOMAN'S GUIDE TO LIVING ANXIETY-FREE

Leeds’ book offers examples, backed by research, of how to lessen anxiety and go with the flow.

At the start of the book, the debut author, a licensed psychotherapist, notes that her work is not intended to replace medical or psychiatric treatment and advises seeking professional help to deal with the effects of trauma or anxiety that occurs along with depression. In the pages that follow, readers can find simple and practical tools for coping with difficult circumstances. Even people who’ve had past experience with therapy are likely to find ideas in the book that they’ll find beneficial. A popular phrase in the world of psychiatry is “name it to tame it,” and Leeds seems to draw on this idea, attempting to help readers identify ways to “claim” and therefore “name,” their anxiety. Putting a name to stressful thoughts and feelings, this book notes, puts one on the path to lessening or eliminating them. The author helpfully includes specific tools for reframing anxiety via techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy, self-help author Byron Katie’s “The Work,” and focusing on the positive. Leeds’ good-natured tone and sense of humor are evident throughout, with chapter titles such as “The Importance of Not Being Perfekt” that also manage to drive her points home. In the final section of the book, Leeds gives readers several detailed methods to “tame” anxiety, such as breathing exercises, meditation, and tapping exercises. Many of these will be familiar to readers, but other notions, such as finding time for play or simply doing a brand-new activity, offer helpful reminders for trying times. The book is geared mainly toward women, and early on, the author notes that “Women in this country are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety, and we’re much more likely to be put on medication than our male counterparts.” However, readers of any gender are likely to find useful support here in their quest for calmer lives.

An appealing guide to lessening anxiety and increasing overall wellness.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9999015-0-2

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Calm Day Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2021

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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

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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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