Sunday, January 31, 2016
I had never heard of Zach Anner before reading about his book If At Birth You Don't Succeed on librarything. He is an internet star, hosting several different web series, a comedian, fitness instructor...and oh, he has cerebral palsy.
What came through about Zach to me is that he is a person first; his disability is not his defining feature.
One of the many things he does in the book is that he confronts how people often see the disability before they see the person.
I know this is a long quote from the book, but really, it's worth reading...
"A pedestal of prejudice is a hard thing to explain without sounding like a dick. But in a weird way, most of the world places such low expectations on me that there's no way I can do anything but amaze. I recently went on a museum tour of famed illustrator N.C. Wyeth's home and studio. During the tour, I did little more than look at paintings and indifferently notice a slightly narrow dining-room table. Sure, there was the occasional doorway I had to roll through without running into the frame, but it certainly wasn't like docking a shuttle to a space station. This isn't to say that the art itself wasn't beautiful and emotionally compelling to me, but it was an afternoon at a museum, and largely museums only ask their patrons to look at things without touching them. That much I can do. At the end of the experience, the jolly security guard who had escorted us through the tour patted me on the shoulder and said, 'Bet you haven't had this much fun in a loooong time, huh? You did really good!' I didn't have the heart to tell him that I had, in fact, just the day before, been a guest in a house where I was also not allowed to touch anything. And the day before that, I'd kayaked for the first time...over a tree. But still, in this man's mind, my doing nothing successfully was worthy of praise. Perhaps he imagined that I spent my days looking at empty walls wishing I had a still life oil painting of two lemons and a potato, and that I was bored to tears with my normal-size dining room table."
He doesn't sound like a dick. He's intelligent and funny and clever, and he just happens to have cerebral palsy which of course, as he says, is the sexiest of all the palsies.
Zach writes about wanting to be famous, learning how to be funny, figuring out how to live with his disability, but mostly, how to be human.
Definitely worth the read.
Thanks to librarything for their Early Reviewer program! And thank you for reading the blog! You can also check out this blog's Facebook page: NOT The New York Times Book Review. Happy reading!
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Read in 2015
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Show Your Work by Austin Kelon
Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
California by Edan Lepucki
Proof: The Science of Booze by Adam Rogers
The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon
A Matter of Breeding by Michael Brandow
Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill
The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac by Sharma Shields
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
Her by Harriet Lane
Postcards from a Dead Girl by Kirk Farber
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Fever by Megan Abbott
The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire
Love's Promises by Martha M. Ertman
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
Live Right and Find Happiness (Although Beer is Much Faster) by Dave Barry
My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Second Life by S.J. Watson
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean
Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
The Novel Habits of Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
They Eat Puppies, Don't They? by Christopher Buckley
Armada by Ernest Cline
Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore
You by Caroline Kepnes
There is No Us Without You by Suki Kim
In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
Pacific by Simon Winchester
Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
Wool by Hugh Howey
The First Bad Man: A Novel by Miranda July
On Cats by Charles Bukowski
If at Birth You Don't Succeed by Zach Anner
2015 was not a great year of reading for me. There were books I enjoyed, some I enjoyed quite a bit (The Girl With All the Gifts, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, all of the psychological thrillers)... but 2015 was a year of huge transition for me.
I know that when I am experiencing a lot of change/challenges/stress, I don't get as much out of what I read. It's harder to focus, when so much of my energy is going into other things.
And...it is what it is. I'm looking forward to 2016!
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