For those laying odds on 2024, Drucker delivers an opinionated, well-reasoned, and often depressing score card.

IN TRUMP'S SHADOW

THE BATTLE FOR 2024 AND THE FUTURE OF THE GOP

The GOP is Trump’s plaything. But is he the only presence on the playground?

Washington Examiner senior correspondent Drucker doesn’t mean to read the tea leaves—so he suggests, anyway—as much as he wants to lay out possible scenarios to game the next electoral cycle and beyond. Trump has been making dark noises about running again, seeking revenge for his humiliating defeat. (The author allows that there are far too many people who don’t acknowledge that defeat, though, reading between the lines of a Mar-a-Lago conversation with him, Trump himself seems to have accepted the fact.) But then, Drucker writes, every other person positioning for a race “will be running as the next Trump,” so much so that his presence is hardly required. One of them is the Arkansas junior senator, Tom Cotton, groomed by Mitch McConnell to take a leading role in the Republican Congress and a person who amounts to what “a sophisticated version of Donald Trump [might] have looked like.” Cotton is definitively on track for a presidential run—if not in 2024, then in the years beyond. Never mind that he has absolutely no charisma. As Drucker writes, “he just doesn’t give a shit,” a quality that too many voters admire. The author also looks at Nikki Haley, the South Carolina governor who dared resist Trump even while working for him; Chris Christie, the sometime Trump confidant; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who “is already running for president, if you ask most Republicans,” waging a ceaseless culture war on the non–QAnon contingent; and of course Ted Cruz, who just won’t go away. Drucker even includes the Trump family among the contenders, though he reckons that it’s Don Jr., who has been busily building networks among the Republican establishment that his father scorned, who is most likely to enter the field.

For those laying odds on 2024, Drucker delivers an opinionated, well-reasoned, and often depressing score card.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5387-5404-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: Aug. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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

MY BODY

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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A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

THE COMFORT BOOK

Bestselling author Haig offers a book’s worth of apothegms to serve as guides to issues ranging from disquietude to self-acceptance.

Like many collections of this sort—terse snippets of advice, from the everyday to the cosmic—some parts will hit home with surprising insight, some will feel like old hat, and others will come across as disposable or incomprehensible. Years ago, Haig experienced an extended period of suicidal depression, so he comes at many of these topics—pain, hope, self-worth, contentment—from a hard-won perspective. This makes some of the material worthy of a second look, even when it feels runic or contrary to experience. The author’s words are instigations, hopeful first steps toward illumination. Most chapters are only a few sentences long, the longest running for three pages. Much is left unsaid and left up to readers to dissect. On being lost, Haig recounts an episode with his father when they got turned around in a forest in France. His father said to him, “If we keep going in a straight line we’ll get out of here.” He was correct, a bit of wisdom Haig turned to during his depression when he focused on moving forward: “It is important to remember the bottom of the valley never has the clearest view. And that sometimes all you need to do in order to rise up again is to keep moving forward.” Many aphorisms sound right, if hardly groundbreaking—e.g., a quick route to happiness is making someone else happy; “No is a good word. It keeps you sane. In an age of overload, no is really yes. It is yes to having space you need to live”; “External events are neutral. They only gain positive or negative value the moment they enter our mind.” Haig’s fans may enjoy this one, but others should take a pass.

A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-14-313666-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin Life

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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