Wong's discerning selections, bolstered by the activism that shines through, will educate and inspire readers.

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DISABILITY VISIBILITY

FIRST-PERSON STORIES FROM THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

A self-described "disabled activist” brings together diverse perspectives in an anthology to be published on the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Wong, the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, makes it clear that she never intended the book to serve as a "best of" work or a quasi-academic syllabus for “Disability 101.” As she writes, “I want to center the wisdom of disabled people and welcome others in, rather than asking for permission or acknowledgment.” The editor notes that, according to the most recent U.S. census, 20% of citizens in the country live with a disability. The book is divided into four sections. "Being" captures writings that explain the daily challenges of wrestling with a disability, from blindness and deafness to autism, bipolar personality, generalized mental illness, fibromyalgia, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and others. In “Becoming,” the essays focus less on defining a specific disability and more on how the contributors have figured out how to follow a life-affirming path. "Doing" displays the accomplishments—many of them quite remarkable—that affect not only the anthologists, but also society at large. The final section, "Connecting," illuminates how those labeled as disabled find ways to transcend isolation. Some of the essays are original, but many have been previously published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and elsewhere. Readers will recognize relatively common scenes, such as Haben Girma’s navigating with a guide dog (“Guide Dogs Don’t Lead Blind People. We Wander as One.”), while other contributions ably demonstrate that not all disabilities are apparent. Recognizing that “it is impossible to capture the full expanse of the disability experience in one book,” the editor offers a robust section of further reading that encompasses not just nonfiction, but also fiction, poetry, podcasts, and other forms of expression.

Wong's discerning selections, bolstered by the activism that shines through, will educate and inspire readers.

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984899-42-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Vintage

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An intriguing meditation on the nature of the universe and our attempts to understand it that should appeal to both...

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SEVEN BRIEF LESSONS ON PHYSICS

Italian theoretical physicist Rovelli (General Relativity: The Most Beautiful of Theories, 2015, etc.) shares his thoughts on the broader scientific and philosophical implications of the great revolution that has taken place over the past century.

These seven lessons, which first appeared as articles in the Sunday supplement of the Italian newspaper Sole 24 Ore, are addressed to readers with little knowledge of physics. In less than 100 pages, the author, who teaches physics in both France and the United States, cogently covers the great accomplishments of the past and the open questions still baffling physicists today. In the first lesson, he focuses on Einstein's theory of general relativity. He describes Einstein's recognition that gravity "is not diffused through space [but] is that space itself" as "a stroke of pure genius." In the second lesson, Rovelli deals with the puzzling features of quantum physics that challenge our picture of reality. In the remaining sections, the author introduces the constant fluctuations of atoms, the granular nature of space, and more. "It is hardly surprising that there are more things in heaven and earth, dear reader, than have been dreamed of in our philosophy—or in our physics,” he writes. Rovelli also discusses the issues raised in loop quantum gravity, a theory that he co-developed. These issues lead to his extraordinary claim that the passage of time is not fundamental but rather derived from the granular nature of space. The author suggests that there have been two separate pathways throughout human history: mythology and the accumulation of knowledge through observation. He believes that scientists today share the same curiosity about nature exhibited by early man.

An intriguing meditation on the nature of the universe and our attempts to understand it that should appeal to both scientists and general readers.

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-18441-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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