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

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

F*CK IT, I'LL START TOMORROW

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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Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

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BROKEN (IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY)

The Bloggess is back to survey the hazards and hilarity of imperfection.

Lawson is a wanderer. Whether on her award-winning blog or in the pages of her bestselling books, she reliably takes readers to places they weren’t even aware they wanted to go—e.g., shopping for dog condoms or witnessing what appears to be a satanic ritual. Longtime fans of the author’s prose know that the destinations really aren’t the point; it’s the laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-your-face journeys that make her writing so irresistible. This book is another solid collection of humorous musings on everyday life, or at least the life of a self-described “super introvert” who has a fantastic imagination and dozens of chosen spirit animals. While Furiously Happy centered on the idea of making good mental health days exceptionally good, her latest celebrates the notion that being broken is beautiful—or at least nothing to be ashamed of. “I have managed to fuck shit up in shockingly impressive ways and still be considered a fairly acceptable person,” writes Lawson, who has made something of an art form out of awkward confessionals. For example, she chronicles a mix-up at the post office that left her with a “big ol’ sack filled with a dozen small squishy penises [with] smiley faces painted on them.” It’s not all laughs, though, as the author addresses her ongoing battle with both physical and mental illness, including a trial of transcranial magnetic stimulation, a relatively new therapy for people who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. The author’s colloquial narrative style may not suit the linear-narrative crowd, but this isn’t for them. “What we really want,” she writes, “is to know we’re not alone in our terribleness….Human foibles are what make us us, and the art of mortification is what brings us all together.” The material is fresh, but the scaffolding is the same.

Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-07703-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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