Lane’s sharply observant yet intimate writing will transport readers to places all over the world.
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Best Books Of 2022
A seasoned traveler shares memories of her adventures on seven continents in this memoir.
American travel writer Lane’s first travel overseas was in 1965 for her honeymoon, when she and her then-husband traveled from the United States through Europe. In the ensuing decades, she lived in London, Bangkok, and Manila and began writing for such venues as the New York Times and HuffPost. Her desire to be her definition of a traveler (“tourists do what makes them comfortable. Travelers seek discovery”) took her to more than 100 countries over the course of 50 years. Proceeding alphabetically, beginning with Andorra and ending with Zimbabwe, Lane shares an array of memories tied to specific locales. The author describes being mugged in Barcelona, when she instinctively tried to wrestle her handbag back from her assailant—an unsettling event that was mitigated by an “idyllic” picnic in Andorra the following day. Lane also discusses reviewing hotels in Russia after perestroika and taking a river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow. In far-flung Madagascar, she says, she realized her lifelong dream of photographing lemurs in the wild. The author also turns her attention to the United States, celebrating the beauty of Antelope Canyon, Arizona, pondering her most treasured experiences, and listing the five states she has yet to visit. Lane stresses that this isn’t intended as a guidebook but rather a record of how she perceived the world through decades of voyaging. Charming watercolor illustrations by Correll, which are based on Lane’s photographic travel archive, complement her memories.
This is a beautifully balanced memoir that packs a wealth of personal experience into a comparatively short book. Lane captures the atmosphere of each location with swift and evocative precision, as when describing a street in Cairo: “Vendors sell tissue on the dusty streets for drivers who blow their noses and wipe their sweaty faces, then toss the tissues out the windows. The snotty papers swirl like huge snowflakes as cars pass on the hot pavement.” The author also offers laconic yet thoughtful commentary throughout, as when describing the historic Mostar Bridge in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was destroyed then rebuilt following the Croat-Bosniak War in the 1990s: “Time heals. But history warns.” The unconventional but fun A-to-Z format allows the reader to work through it from cover to cover or to dip in at any point for travel inspiration. Readers concerned that this format might make for a fragmented memoir in which they never truly get to know the author need not worry. She avoids dry reportage and offers candid snippets about her personal life and travel partners: “I was traveling for the first time with an elegant man whom I was seriously dating, and I wanted to make a good impression.” Correll’s striking works offer a color palette that leans toward blues and greens, and they make this cleverly conceived and satisfying voyage of escapism all the more vivid.Lane’s sharply observant yet intimate writing will transport readers to places all over the world.
Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2019
Page Count: 203
Publisher: The Three Tomatoes Book Publishing
Review Posted Online: July 18, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Walter Isaacson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 12, 2023
Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
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
Page Count: 688
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
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
Page Count: 192
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022
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