The essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything.
We continue our blog series on Denver Public Library’s Essay Core Collection with a celebration of Disability Pride Month. DPL’s Core Collections are essential essay collections that represent the breadth and diversity of our contemporary world. Let’s take a look at some titles by a few preeminent writers in our Essays Core Collection, which is also available on Overdrive.
Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century
This anthology came out in tandem with the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and brings together an array of first-person accounts about the contemporary disability experience. There are pieces about art and celebration as well as prejudice, the law, and activism. Some pieces are historically focused and others heartfelt and forward-looking, making this a diverse, and nuanced collection with a broad representation of experiences, talents, and perspectives.
The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me, by Keah Brown
Charming and humorous, Keah Brown is a disability rights advocate whose essay collection is thoughtful and celebrates self-love. She focuses on the intersection of being a Black woman in America who experiences both cerebral palsy and invisible disabilities. She writes about pop culture, romance, and being an identical twin with an able-bodied person.
Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body, by Rebekah Taussig
Author Dr. Rebekah Taussig has a PhD in disability studies and creative nonfiction, making her essay collection a well-researched exploration of feminism, being in a paralyzed body, accessibility, identity, and representation. Wit and research are sprinkled throughout this memoir-feeling essay collection, which mirrors her famed Instagram account @sittingpretty in which she details in mini-biographical snippets her experience of being a woman in a wheelchair.
July is also National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, which is meant to bring awareness to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic communities face in the United States.
Heavy: An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon
Aptly titled, Heavy details violence, grief, abuse related to the author’s struggle with an eating disorder and gambling addictions. Generational trauma and systematic racism play out in one person’s life and body as detailed in storytelling, reflection, and conversations in this essay collection.
The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays, by Esmé Weijun Wang
Wang is a former lab researcher at Stanford who was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. She uses both research and personal experience in this essay collection on labels, the medical community, mental health, and how society deals with complex issues related to schizophrenia.
I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl's Notes from the End of the World, by Kai Cheng Thom
Based in transformative justice, this book is about social justice movements with a focus on healing, nuance, and love. These essays are a compassionate and passionate plea for creating a more just and responsive society, with a focus on better mental health treatment systems and supports.
Check out these titles and more from the Core Collections. You can see the other blog in the Essay Core Collection Series Almost Anything About Almost Everything below:
Essays In Remembrance: Almost Everything About Almost Anything
Essays by Women: Almost Everything About Almost Anything
Essays for AA.NH/PI Heritage Month: Almost Everything About Almost Anything