In her evocative memoir, not a poster child, Francine Falk-Allen achieves her goal of describing life well-lived while handicapped. In so doing, she fulfills another goal: to honor all handicapped individuals. What results is a remarkable story told in an easily accessible and conversational manner with intelligence, wit, and grace.
Wang’s genius partly comes from her ability to write about her illness with seemingly perfect clarity, as the sufferer and the scientist. The book is a testament to her brain—a brain working so well that it can so effectively describe the torment it causes her. Especially since, as Wang reminds us, schizophrenia is a disease of “loosening of associations,” in which the mind is working so hard within the person—against the person—to rid itself of itself.
Each included author has something important to say and Mendenhall has a talent for finding just the right way to allow the authors to express themselves. Mendenhall has a knack at getting to what is significant, and revealing truths both about the writers and about their books. Nor do the interviews shy away from topical issues or cultural conflicts.
The one topic that all our storytellers weigh in on is the concept of home. What does “home” mean to them? About half the writers say that America is now their home; the other half claims the land of their birth. It is always the last segment of the teller’s tale, a summing up, and the logic each writer uses to make their decision is always compelling.
There is so much about the human condition that is illuminated here in these beautifully written pieces. Wright takes the painful, the personal and the often unbearable frailty of life, and expands it so that the work becomes a celebration of being alive, of human resilience and of the beauty of the everyday.
Jeff Herman’s iconic Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents is a well-respected industry standard, much like Writers Market. Now in its 28th Edition, the Guide enjoys continued acclaim and popularity—and there is a good reason for this. Flatly stated, it’s just the one of the best, if not the best, of many (many!) writers’ guides out there.
Huets has done an immense amount of research to show America’s bard in his own time. Photographs, nineteenth century American landscape paintings, handwritten excerpts from Whitman’s notebooks, quotations from his poetry and from his contemporaries’ writing make the book reader-friendly.
Frankopan must have had great publishers. Aside from the aesthetically pleasing cover design with sumptuous Islamic floral and geometric patterns overlaid with gold lettering, the selling point of the book is its ambitious thesis: to reposition the centre of the world and repatriate the influence that Eastern regions have had on global events. The book is undoubtedly a titan effort in scholarship.
As a self-professed “agnostic protestant”, Norwich claims he has “no axe to grind”; he steers clear of theology and achieves a style which is anecdotal, witty, and irreverent. A story less sacred than profane, he relishes with morbid fascination the unpleasant details of the institution’s sinners, while displaying undisguised admiration for its saints.
If you want to fit in, to know the dos and don’ts, and to understand the cultural oddities, you’ll need a copy of Ian Mortimer’s Time Traveller’s Guide. In it, he paints a living, breathing picture of the sickness and the suffering, the power and the glory that was Elizabethan England, and tells you everything you’ll need to know to survive in their world. When you arrive, you’ll find that your “ancestors are not inferior to [you]; they do not lack sophistication, subtlety, innovation, wit or courage”.