A needed message of hope, joy, and love, imparted through the simplicity of lists.



Inspirational snippets inspired by the need for unity and optimism in troubled times.

On March 11, 2020, the day the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, Doubleday deputy publisher Doughty was on a train home from work when he began crafting a series of lists on Instagram to engage and inspire others to “remember and explore the things that bring you happiness.” Accessorizing these unique and fun assortments are essays on practical ways to feel more connected, appreciations of the blissful interconnectedness of small-town life, and ideas about how to cultivate “a little piece of hope” every day. The lists include often quirky nods to a variety of quotidian things, including cake, “a small piece of chocolate that leaves you wanting more,” specific scenes in movies and books, the intricate foam design in a latte, and the unique serenity of late-night quiet. In other sections, Doughty offers more substantial appreciations of teachers, seasons, holidays, the exhilarating art of personal or professional risk-taking, and music “mixtape” playlists focusing on a specific mood, genre, or period preference. Creatively rich with typeface variations and Portillo’s casual, bright artwork, Doughty’s wise words of wisdom aim to lessen the negative effects of the pandemic. This is a breezy, versatile book to be enjoyed during a peaceful moment of reflection or read aloud at gatherings with friends and family. Laden with optimism and inspiration, Doughty’s lists are rhythmic, interconnected, fun, and effervescently positive. Readers plodding through the arduous, isolating, seemingly endless days of pandemic regulations will particularly appreciate the author’s humor and fanciful sense of nostalgia and stress-busting playfulness. Best enjoyed a few segments at a time, the text encourages readers to pause, breathe, and appreciate the simple things, both past and present, which often become overshadowed by schedules, work and family demands, and myriad interpersonal challenges.

A needed message of hope, joy, and love, imparted through the simplicity of lists.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-14-313656-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Penguin Life

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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

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


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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