A welcome introduction to an aspect of Native American life that merits broader exposure.

WE HAD A LITTLE REAL ESTATE PROBLEM

THE UNHERALDED STORY OF NATIVE AMERICANS & COMEDY

Humor is a form of resistance—one reason why Native American performers have contributed strongly to the comic tradition.

The modern Native comic movement owes to several influences, including Bob Newhart, Richard Pryor, and the Canadian TV special Welcome to Turtle Island, which inspired numerous performers north of the border. Don’t forget Rodney Dangerfield, one inspiration for an Ojibwe social worker and part-time comedian to drive the many miles to Minneapolis to deliver lines such as, “I think it’s great that Bruce Jenner transitioned to Caitlyn Jenner…but I don’t think she should have picked a young woman’s name. I mean—she’s seventy years old….Her name should be Gladys.” Says another stand-up who’s been at it long enough to see another generation or two rise behind him, “We’re like the Columbus of Native comedians.” Nesteroff, well known for his 2015 history The Comedians, takes a long view of the Native comic tradition, looking at the hundreds of performers who toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show as a means of escaping an oppressive reservation system, a motivation that’s still operative. The author also examines historical humorists. Some are well known—e.g., Will Rogers, who, though often identified as White, was born and died on Native land and who quipped, “I’m not one of those Americans whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower, but we met them at the boat when they landed.” Others will be new to most readers, including Muscogee Creek writer Alexander Posey, broadly popular in the early 1900s but almost unknown today. Their descendants continue to work the comedy scene today, and most deserve wider attention, such as Marc Yaffee, founder of the Pow Wow Comedy Jam; and Vaughn Eaglebear, author of lines such as, “I donated some blood a couple weeks ago. One of the nurses asked me if I was a full-blooded Indian. I said, ‘Not anymore.’ ”

A welcome introduction to an aspect of Native American life that merits broader exposure.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

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

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