An erudite, informative, and highly readable cycling account.



A debut memoir chronicles the adventures of a small band of cyclists nicknamed the Xtreme Dorks who set off for Tibet.

The prospect of riding some of the highest roads on Earth had long excited Hazenberg, who, as a child growing up in the 1970s in Thunder Bay, Ontario, was fascinated by maps of the great continents. In the book’s opening, the author describes how literature further opened his young mind to adventure, later leading him to take on a Ph.D., which he lost the motivation to finish. After successfully applying to be a contestant on the quiz show Jeopardy! he used his prize money to spend three years exploring the world. In 1998, he convinced his two sisters, Audie and Saakje, and their partners to cycle from Islamabad, Pakistan, to Tibet, their goal being Mount Kailash, an important Buddhist pilgrimage site. The journey was grueling, punctuated with thrills, spills, and eyebrow-raising encounters, from stone-throwing kids to benevolent gun runners. The author embroiders the odyssey with rich historical and factual details and, at the close of the memoir, reflects on the significant political shifts that have taken place since he completed his trip. Hazenberg’s affinity for literature is prominent throughout this sharply penned book. The author effortlessly transports readers using his concisely evocative, descriptive style: “A golden carpet of grain stalks shimmered in the sunlight. Apples and apricot grew in neat orchards, and pencil-thin Lombardy poplars provided windbreaks and fast-growing firewood on the edge of fields.” Hazenberg adds further layers of interest by including carefully researched historical tidbits: “We passed under Churchill’s Picket, a hilltop military post where a 22-year-old Winston Churchill saw action in 1897.” Such facts slide fluidly into the narrative and serve to further illuminate the passing landscape. Avoiding the pitfall of focusing too intently on the demands of the itinerary, the author is acutely aware of local customs and cultural differences: “The women were shocked by Saakje’s shaved head; we had by now learned that only women taken in adultery or being shamed as prostitutes had hair that short.” Far from presenting mundanely reworked field notes, as is sometimes common in this genre, this is a refreshingly intelligent, multifaceted memoir that will entertain and inspire cyclists of all abilities.

An erudite, informative, and highly readable cycling account. (maps, photographs)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77-759361-2

Page Count: 424

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.


The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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