Greenlights Memoir

In search of something good to read? USA TODAY's Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases.

1. “Greenlights,” by Matthew McConaughey (Crown, nonfiction, on sale Oct. 20)

“Greenlights,” by Matthew McConaughey (Crown, nonfiction, on sale Oct. 20) What it’s about: The Academy Award-winning actor pens an unconventional and candid memoir filled with raucous stories. Matthew McConaughey had an interesting strategy for writing his memoir. The Hollywood star released “Greenlights” Tuesday, and the buzz surrounding the book is already moving the needle in a major way. Note: Text has been edited and may not match audio exactly. Courtney Reimer: Hi, I'm Audible Editor Courtney Reimer, and I am truly delighted to be talking with Matthew McConaughey today about his new memoir, Greenlights.McConaughey is, of course, an Academy Award-winning actor, more on that later, the star of critically acclaimed HBO show True Detective, and the unforgettable voice behind a.

What it’s about: The Academy Award-winning actor pens an unconventional and candid memoir filled with raucous stories and hard-won wisdom about living life to its fullest.

The buzz: McConaughey writes of the book and its central philosophy: “If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges – how to get relative with the inevitable – you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights.”

© Penguin Random House 'Greenlights' by Matthew McConaughey

Greenlights Book Image

2. “Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath,” by Heather Clark (Knopf, nonfiction, on sale Oct. 20)

What it’s about: This meticulously researched and lengthy biography of a much-romanticized poet promises to paint the full portrait of a complex woman and her remarkable literary achievements.


The buzz: “A major biography that redeems Plath from the condescension of easy interpretation,” says a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

Greenlights Memoir

3. “Plain Bad Heroines,” by Emily M. Danforth; illustrated by Sara Lautman (William Morrow, fiction, on sale Oct. 20)

Greenlights Book Matthew

What it’s about: This queer, metafictional horror-comedy centers on a New England boarding school for girls, which was shuttered in the early 1900s after a spate of mysterious deaths and ends up back in the news a century later.

The buzz: “Even readers who aren’t fans of horror will appreciate this bighearted story,” says a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

4. “Knockout,” by Mia Kang (Abrams Press, nonfiction, on sale Oct. 20)

What it’s about: The fashion model and Muay Thai fighter charts her journey from self-loathing to self-love, sharing how she overcame an eating disorder and built confidence through martial arts.

The buzz: “This is a tough, triumphant memoir,” says Publishers Weekly.

5. “The Silence,” by Don DeLillo (Scribner, fiction, on sale Oct. 20)

What it’s about: In this short, timely novel set in the near future, five people gather in a Manhattan apartment on Super Bowl Sunday and experience a catastrophic event.


The buzz: “This is a small but vivid book, and in its evocation of people in the throes of social crisis, it feels deeply resonant,” says a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

Greenlights Book Tour

More: Author John Grisham wants Matthew McConaughey to star in a 'A Time for Mercy' film adaptation

Greenlights Book Pictures

More: 10 spooky children's books for a homebound Halloween

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 5 books not to miss: Matthew McConaughey’s memoir ‘Greenlights,’ epic Sylvia Plath bio

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Greenlights Book Quotes

AuthorMatthew McConaughey
Audio read byMatthew McConaughey
Cover artistMiller Mobley (photo)
Christopher Brand (design)
Michael Morris (design)
CountryUnited States
October 20, 2020
Media typePrint (hardcover), e-book, audio
ISBN978-0-593-13913-4 (hardcover)
791.4302/8092 B
LC ClassPN2287.M54545 A3 2020

Greenlights is a book by American actor Matthew McConaughey.[1][2] It was published on October 20, 2020, by the Crown imprint of Crown Publishing Group.[3] The book includes stories and insights from McConaughey's life in chronological order. It has been described as a memoir but McConaughey has called it an 'approach book'.[4] It debuted at number one on The New York Times non-fiction best-seller list.[5]


McConaughey exiled himself in the desert without electricity for fifty-two days while writing the book.[6]Greenlights originated from diaries and journals McConaughey began writing when he was fourteen years old.[7] McConaughey described the book as a collection of 'stories, prayers, poems, people and places and a whole bunch of bumper stickers.'[8]

Publication and promotion[edit]

Greenlights was published on October 20, 2020, by the Crown imprint of Crown Publishing Group.[9] McConaughey promoted the book with appearances on Good Morning America,[10]The Joe Rogan Experience, The Kelly Clarkson Show, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, The GaryVee Audio Experience, The Tim Ferriss Show, The Howard Stern Show, Pardon My Take, The Dr. Oz Show, Fox & Friends, and Russell Wilson's DangerTalk podcast,[11]Hot Ones,[12] and The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast podcast.[13]

The book debuted at number one on The New York Times non-fiction best-seller list for the week ending October 24, 2020.[5]


Mark Athitakis of The Washington Post called McConaughey's poetry 'cringeworthy' and criticized his wisdom for being unrelatable, calling the book 'stuffed with vaporous, circular proverbs for would-be McConaugheys.'[14] In their review, The Times of India wrote, 'The writing is conversational and easy to read, though this is one book whose audiobook form is worth listening to. The actor/author reads it himself, with the correct inflections and even does voices. It's truly entertaining.'[15] In an interview with McConaughey, Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson said that the book was 'a collection of great stories'.[16]


  1. ^Itzkoff, Dave (October 14, 2020). 'Matthew McConaughey Wrote the Book on Matthew McConaughey'. The New York Times. Retrieved October 21, 2020.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^Romano, Nick (July 30, 2020). ''Are you lit?' 'Cause Matthew McConaughey is writing a memoir'. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  3. ^'Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey'. Penguin Random House. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  4. ^Hunt, Elle (October 26, 2020). 'Zen and the art of torso maintenance: Matthew McConaughey's guide to life'. The Guardian. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  5. ^ ab'Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction - Best Sellers'. The New York Times. November 8, 2020. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  6. ^Kirkpatrick, Emily (August 13, 2020). 'Matthew McConaughey Spent 52 Days Alone in the Desert with No Electricity to Write His Memoir'. Vanity Fair. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  7. ^Paiella, Gabriella (October 21, 2020). 'Matthew McConaughey Is Thinking About His Eulogy'. GQ. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  8. ^'Matthew McConaughey on His Memoir Writing Process: 52 Days Alone in the Desert (Without Electricity!)'. People. August 12, 2020. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  9. ^Schaub, Michael (July 30, 2020). 'Matthew McConaughey Is Making His Literary Debut'. Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  10. ^FitzPatrick, Hayley (October 19, 2020). 'Matthew McConaughey talks lifelong dream of being a father and the first moment he saw his wife'. Good Morning America. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  11. ^O'Neal, Sean (October 23, 2020). 'Won't You Say You Love a Dark 'Barney' Movie?'. Texas Monthly. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  12. ^'Matthew McConaughey Grunts it Out While Eating Spicy Wings Hot Ones'. October 22, 2020. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  13. ^'The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast: Matthew McConaughey'. Apple Podcasts. January 10, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  14. ^Athitakis, Mark (October 20, 2020). 'Matthew McConaughey is 'alright, alright, alright' — and thinks you will be too'. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  15. ^'Micro review: 'Greenlights' by Matthew McConaughey'. The Times of India. November 16, 2020. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  16. ^'The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast - Season 4 Episode 1: Matthew McConaughey - YouTube'. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
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