Even more endearing than you'd think. Older readers will feel cheered by the story—and the fact that she remembers it all.

LEFT ON TENTH

A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE

A beloved writer in her 70s faces life's heaviest weather.

Ephron, whose career includes humor, plays, screenplays, and novels, chronicles a series of "left turns, some perilous, some wondrous," that began with the death of her sister Nora in 2012, followed a few years later by the death of her husband of nearly four decades—the man "I'd been looking for…my whole life and he felt the same." Not long after Jerry's death, she heard from Peter. Though they had dated briefly in college, she had no memory of him. “My sensibilities had been so rattled by Jerry’s death,” she writes, “I could feel that young girl banging around inside me, waiting to take me down.” Also a recent widower, Peter turned out to be another perfect match. In fact, their relationship, as depicted in the book, goes so well that you keep waiting for it to crash, right up until they are married in a room at the hospital where Ephron began treatment for the very disease that killed her sister. That particular left turn was especially difficult, and the author decided to have her assistant gather all her emails from 2015 to 2018 so she could tell the entire story. Many readers’ only complaint will be that Ephron includes in full more of those emails than is strictly necessary. Along the way, we get wisdom about writing ("Writers are writers first. Before anything else. It's a calling") and charming insight into the relationship the author had with her superfamous older sister. "I didn’t think the doctors were concerned about me, because they were Nora’s doctors,” she writes. “Also, she was a national treasure—a writer and director, reinventor of the romantic comedy, admired by women everywhere. I was just, well, me."

Even more endearing than you'd think. Older readers will feel cheered by the story—and the fact that she remembers it all.

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-26765-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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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

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A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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