RISE

MY STORY

The American alpine skier and former Olympian remembers the struggles and triumphs that marked her storied career.

Vonn was just 2 1/2 when her father first put her on skis. She tried other sports, but she discovered that no other activity came close to giving her the “speed, the power, the adrenaline [rush]” she adored. A hometown encounter with Olympic ski champion Picabo Street inspired Vonn deeply enough that by age 9 she declared her intent to ski in the 2002 Olympics. While her father steered her career, her family moved to Colorado so that Vonn could enroll in the best ski racing programs. Vonn gave up the social life other teens took for granted only to find that coaches dismissed her in favor of students like future fellow Olympian Julia Mancuso. Vonn used this lack of belief to fuel the relentless drive that saw her make the 2002 Olympic team. Still, despite this achievement, coaches continued to underestimate her abilities. Facing self-doubt and a host of personal problems, including depression and her parents’ unexpected divorce, Vonn fought her way to the World Cup circuit, which she dominated for more than a decade. But even as she won, Vonn faced new challenges. Some involved dealing with sexism in both the media and in the skiing world itself. Others involved her body and the many, sometimes devastating injuries that eventually ended her career. “I had tried—was still trying—everything I could,” she writes, “but I had reached a point where it was like I was skiing on one leg.” Vonn’s memoir is admirable not only for the way it portrays her ruthless will to succeed, but also for how it eschews “juicy gossip” about a much-publicized past. Fans of women’s sports and especially skiing will no doubt find the book satisfying.

A grittily candid memoir.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-288944-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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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 author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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