Powerful and intimate self-portraits from writers who have much to teach readers.

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FIRSTS

COMING OF AGE STORIES BY PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Essays from 11 authors describe their personal experiences—frustrations, hurts, and triumphs— in confronting the challenges of disabilities.

At age 26, Cipriani (Blind, 2011, etc.) was beaten by childhood friends; the assault left him blind. His search for articles and literature about people living with disabilities led him to a career in journalism. Eventually, he asked other disabled writers to share their stories. This collection is culled from the numerous responses he received, and they reflect a broad spectrum of debilitating conditions: early-onset severe rheumatoid arthritis, deafness, loss of sight, cerebral palsy, high-functioning autism, and injuries inflicted by a vehicle. The chapter-length autobiographies are as different in experience as they are in voice. Whether they became disabled as young or middle-aged adults—or knew they were somehow different from childhood—all of these writers experienced what Cipriani calls their own “rites of passage,” the process of learning to navigate through personal relationships and an unfriendly environment. And for those stricken in adulthood, there is also a period of denial to overcome—a reckoning with the monumental and permanent change in their circumstances. The stories from several writers with autism are especially revelatory. Sam E. Rubin, in “Overdubbing the Cody Effect,” who was diagnosed early, vividly describes his childhood terror facing discipline meted out by a special ed teacher. To this day, Rubin suffers from recurrent PTSD. On the other hand, Kimberly Gerry-Tucker, in “Firsts in Art,” wasn’t diagnosed until adulthood. She firmly believes that she would have benefitted from the extra attention found in special ed. She also poignantly educates readers on the inner workings of the autistic experience. After a difficult but very successful presentation to a large audience, she discovered that the organizer wanted to hug her. “I don’t grant that sort of thing to just anyone,” she explains, “because hugs feel like indents afterward, which can’t be popped back out for hours at times. But we hugged, or I sort of patted her, which is my hug.”

Powerful and intimate self-portraits from writers who have much to teach readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73231-270-8

Page Count: 226

Publisher: OLEB Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2018

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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