THY WILL O LORD

MY IMPERFECTIONS & THE GRACE OF GOD REVEALED, 2ND ED.

An uplifting but unfocused remembrance and testimonial.

A devoutly Christian Nigerian man’s memoir of immigrating to the United States.

Omolaja’s work covers the story of his life in two distinct sections, beginning with his birth in Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1953. The author spent his early adulthood in the early 1970s, after a stint in the army, moving to different cities looking for work and usually finding it as a driver for wealthier residents, whom he came to see as “educated fools” for their materialist obsessions. Omolaja was raised as a Muslim but had a sudden revelation at the age of 21, when, he says, a disembodied voice whispered in his ear, saying, “Jesus is the Son of God, He is the Lord and the Savior of the world.” His family members had him committed to a mental health institution, he says, but he remained determined to witness for Jesus. His spiritual path eventually led him to Selma University, a historically black Baptist Bible college in Alabama. However, Omolaja later experienced financial hardship as he moved around the American South, attempting to fulfill his calling to minister to the mentally ill and others struggling in society. The book’s second half provides readers with chapters on a range of topics, including practical issues for Christians, such as the importance of water baptisms, and wider theological debates about prophecies, angels, and the might of God. Omolaja accompanies his thoughts on these subjects with ample biblical references and “Spiritual Exercises” in the style of a daily devotional. However, his attempts to address Christian and non-Christian readers alike may leave some readers unsure of how a chapter specifically applies to them. The book’s autobiographical portion offers plenty of engaging and positive ideas, especially when dealing with the author’s difficulty adapting to American life and his unflappably good intentions toward everyone he met. At the same time, readers may find some of his accounts of spiritual encounters difficult to believe, as when he claims to have brought a young child back from the dead.

An uplifting but unfocused remembrance and testimonial.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64753-086-0

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Urlink Print & Media, LLC

Review Posted Online: May 2, 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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TANQUERAY

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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