An eye-opening, disturbing, empowering, and essential text.

COUNT DOWN

HOW OUR MODERN WORLD IS THREATENING SPERM COUNTS, ALTERING MALE AND FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE DEVELOPMENT, AND IMPERILING THE FUTURE OF THE HUMAN RACE

An urgent examination of a global problem that requires vastly more attention than it currently receives.

Despite the pervasive idea that overpopulation is one of the most pressing concerns facing our planet, human fertility rates are dropping fast. Without a concerted global effort to reverse this trend, long-term human survival may be at risk, according to renowned epidemiologist and public health expert Swan. The author made headlines in 2017 when she published a “meta-analysis on sperm-count decline in Western countries.” Her study became one of the most-cited in history, making it a hot topic among scientists as well as the public. Despite the attention, the demonstrated causes of fertility decline—including toxic chemicals that transfer from everyday products and foods into our bodies—remain a problem. In this impeccably researched, cogent book, the author convincingly argues that if society’s trend toward a fertility rate below replacement level continues at the current pace, humans could become an endangered species. “Of five possible criteria for what makes a species endangered,” she writes, “only one needs to be met; the current state of affairs for humans meets at least three.” The author’s passion for her work and access to reams of alarming data make for riveting reading, and her writing is crisp and unfettered by jargon. Writing about the lack of awareness regarding commonly used chemicals that are harming humans and the environment—not to mention policies to limit or eliminate them—she asks with justified anger, “Where is the outrage on this issue?!” Acknowledging the glacial pace of institutional change, Swan outlines how people can take concrete action to protect themselves now and how positive change has long-term ripple effects that benefit future generations. With an advocate’s verve and a scientist’s informed confidence, the author voices “a clarion call for all of us to do what we can to safeguard our fertility, the fate of mankind, and the planet.”

An eye-opening, disturbing, empowering, and essential text.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982113-66-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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