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DISABILITY VISIBILITY

FIRST-PERSON STORIES FROM THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

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

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 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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ELON MUSK

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

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A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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F*CK IT, I'LL START TOMORROW

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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