Sunday, May 20, 2018
Books

Review: Andy Boyle’s ‘Adulthood for Beginners’ offers funny, laid-back advice

Bro, Andy Boyle wants to help you. Boyle’s book, Adulthood for Beginners: All the Life Secrets Nobody Bothered to Tell You, is notably laid back for a self-help book. It’s less like a hyper, rah-rah life coach and more like a pal offering you a few quiet tips over pizza — which probably makes it more likely to appeal to its target demo, twentysomethings still unsure about just how to be a grownup.

That’s territory Boyle has just navigated himself. He’s a journalist (including a stint at the then-St. Petersburg Times) and website developer who has segued into standup comedy and, with Adulthood for Beginners, a kind of comedy self-help book.

In 2015, he writes in the book’s introduction, he wrote a blog post "detailing what I learned not drinking for two years. And in a tale as old as time, it went crazy viral. (The same thing happened to Jane Austen.)" He had already written a first draft of an advice book, and the viral post led to a book contract.

The subject of that blog post, by the way, doesn’t dominate the book; it’s not an anti-alcohol sermon. That’s one more thing Boyle is laid back about; not drinking worked for him — he lost 75 pounds and saved enough on booze to make a down payment on a condo — but he’s not on a crusade to get everyone on the wagon.

As he notes, "Because of this blog post I became mildly famous for not doing a thing. Soon I hope to become even more famous for not dating a Kardashian, not dropping a hot mix tape, and not going to the Moon."

His advice has a much wider range, although it’s based in something he introduces early in the chapter "The A------ Test." (If you’re touchy about coarse language, this is not your advice book.) It’s a jokey version of the Golden Rule, in which Boyle advises readers to treat others as they’d like to be treated themselves — and to be nicer to themselves, while they’re at it.

Boyle’s tips are big on empathy and respect, for everyone from your parents to your waiters and bartenders — hey, he even respects Nickelback fans — although he’s forthright about when to say no, whether it’s to a slobby roommate or a creepy date. Take the page with one question at the top: "Should I get back with my ex?" Below that, in giant letters, "NO."

One engaging aspect of Boyle’s advice is that he breaks things down into manageable parts instead of big, sweeping, and therefore less achievable, changes. He also zeroes in on contemporary issues like how to present yourself on social media, how to negotiate other people’s gender identity and how to reconcile yourself to not looking like Brad Pitt in Fight Club.

His self-deprecating humor, though, is what pulls it all together, as in this "pro tip" in the section about job interviews: "One time, during a newspaper job interview, I thought I’d prove I was a good reporter by telling the interviewer how much she’d paid for her house. Don’t do this."

Contact Colette Bancroft at [email protected] or (727) 893-8435. Follow @colettemb.

Comments
The real stuff is how Tom Wolfe best used his write stuff

The real stuff is how Tom Wolfe best used his write stuff

om Wolfe’s best writing lifted real people into legend: car designers and astronauts and disciples of LSD. With that writing, Wolfe lifted himself into legend as well.The author of 16 books, including such bestsellers as The Right Stuff and The Bonfi...
Published: 05/18/18
Review: In Stephen King’s ‘The Outsider,’ evil can’t be true but must be true

Review: In Stephen King’s ‘The Outsider,’ evil can’t be true but must be true

On a July day, Terry Maitland, one of the most popular men in Flint City, Okla. — high school English teacher, Little League coach, husband and father, recently named the town’s man of the year — attends a teachers convention in a city over an hour’s...
Published: 05/17/18

Events: Gilbert King to discuss ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun’ at Inkwood in Tampa

Book TalkCutter Wood (Love and Death in the Sunshine State: The Story of a Crime) will discuss and sign his nonfiction book about a murder on Anna Maria Island at 6 p.m. May 14 at Bookstore1, 12 S Palm Ave., Sarasota.The Gulfport Historical Society p...
Published: 05/11/18
Notable: As Mother’s Day nears, these new books are timely

Notable: As Mother’s Day nears, these new books are timely

NotableMore about mothersFor Mother’s Day, three new books offer a range of takes on motherhood.Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience (Random House) by Allison Pataki is a memoir by a novelist whose 30-year-old husband ...
Published: 05/11/18
Review: A criminal’s confession is just the beginning in Michael Koryta’s compelling ‘How It Happened’

Review: A criminal’s confession is just the beginning in Michael Koryta’s compelling ‘How It Happened’

It’s what every investigator hopes for: a tough case finally solved when one of the criminals confesses, providing solid details and even describing where the bodies are buried.Or, in Michael Koryta’s compelling new psychological thriller How It Happ...
Published: 05/10/18
Anthony Award nominees include Tampa’s Michael Connelly, Down & Out Books

Anthony Award nominees include Tampa’s Michael Connelly, Down & Out Books

When the World Mystery Convention, a.k.a. Bouchercon, takes place in St. Petersburg in September and hands out its coveted Anthony Awards, the Tampa Bay Area will be well represented among the nominees.The award nominees, announced May 9, include Tam...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/10/18
Review: In Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Barracoon,’ the voice of slavery’s history speaks

Review: In Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Barracoon,’ the voice of slavery’s history speaks

It has taken Zora Neale Hurston’s book Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" 87 years to see print. But maybe it happened at just the right time.Just a week before the book’s May 8 publication date, rapper Kanye West opined in a TMZ intervie...
Published: 05/09/18
Review: Rick Bragg’s ‘The Best Cook in the World’ a loving food memoir about his mother

Review: Rick Bragg’s ‘The Best Cook in the World’ a loving food memoir about his mother

When Rick Bragg told his mother that his new book about her would be titled The Best Cook in the World, Margaret Bragg protested: "I wasn’t even the best cook that lived on our road." Bragg writes, "I told her we couldn’t call it The Thi...
Published: 05/09/18
Review: Ace Atkins takes an artful turn with Spenser in ‘Old Black Magic’

Review: Ace Atkins takes an artful turn with Spenser in ‘Old Black Magic’

Art can bring us joy, enlarge our perspective, even enlighten us. Sometimes, though, it can make us behave badly.In Ace Atkins’ new novel, Old Black Magic, art makes people behave very badly indeed.Three works of art, to be specific. A Picasso sketch...
Updated one month ago
Events: Gilbert King to discuss ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun’ in Sarasota

Events: Gilbert King to discuss ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun’ in Sarasota

Book Talk Writing coach Roy Peter Clark (Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer) will hold a 90-minute workshop on finding your voice at 2 p.m. May 6 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Registration $5 at bit.ly/2J9b...
Updated one month ago