Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled

by Nancy Mairs | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 0807070874 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingerishkigalwing of Salt Lake City, Utah USA on 12/16/2012
Buy from one of these Booksellers:
Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT | Bol.com
12 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingerishkigalwing from Salt Lake City, Utah USA on Sunday, December 16, 2012
Twelve (ish) years ago I had the privilege to meet Nancy Mairs, and hear her speak. Her candor and bravery blew me away! "Waist-high" became the first of her books I read, and it opened my eyes in unexpected ways.

When I first joined BC, I wanted to share this via ring, but someone (Gory?) warned me not to ring a book I wasn't willing to lose (sage advice; more have not returned than have). Periodically, I've thought about it, but am still not willing to lose my signed copy, so finally I went online and ordered a very-gently-read copy. Which is the one I'm now registering.

Amazon Review:-

Robert Dorroh from Sonora, CA wrote : Nancy Mairs, with devastating honesty, chronicles life as a cripple (her choice of word) in poignant essays in "Waist High in the World."

Beset with multiple sclerosis and bouts with clinical and situational depression, she offsets these stumbling blocks with joy, candor, eloquence, and cultural and political insights. It is a book for everybody, not just the disabled, for it challenges our fears, cultural hangups and citizenship: "The more perspectives that can be brought to bear on human experience, even from the slant of a wheelchair or a hospital bed, or through the ears of a blind person or the fingers of someone who is deaf, the richer that experience becomes." She attacks the stereotype that cripples must be passive and unfailingly polite in a culture that doesn't want to deal with them: "Beyond cheerfulness and patience, people don't expect much of a cripple's character."

Pondering her husband and caretaker George's battle with cancer, she offers a balanced look at suicide in the face of his death. Though she has attempted suicide "more than once," she questions the right-to-die movement, which extolls "rational" suicide: "Since hopelessness is a distinctive symptom of depression, which is an emotional disorder, actions carried out in a despairing state seem to me intrinsically irrational. This last time I clung to shreds of reason, which saved me." Still, she sees suicide as a possibility: "I want to be the one in charge of my life, including its end."

Why should society pay for the misfortunes of others? people ask. Because it's what human beings do: take care of one another, Mairs says, adding that it's the government's role to ensure that its citizens are entitled to the pursuit of happiness. Mairs notes that the abled-bodied should aim to preserve the dignity of the disabled. This takes in seeing them as sexual beings: ... "The general assumption, even among those who might be expected to know better, is that people with disabilities are out of the sexual running."

As a paraplegic, I admire her advocacy on my behalf. I admire her more, however, for her willingness to work toward the betterment of our society through a rare and gifted intelligence.

and back to Erish~
silly me, didn't do release notes before passing this along to 6of8, now I can't without catching, thenreleasing,andforcing6tocatch again~phhhht.

So, currently there are 5 people signed for this ring. I ask only that you are considerate of your fellow bookcrossers, moving it along in a reasonable time, and that you please post on the forum to bump the notice up to where it will be seen and hopefully others will be excited to sign up. I am truly surprised that more have not already. I must not be doing it justice. Thank you for participating!

6of8 US (International)
EwardStreet NZ (International)
lils74 Nepal (International)
saskiasosmile EU (EU preferred, will do Intntl)
vedranaster EU (EU preferred, will do Intntl)
jax987654321 UK (EU or surface International)
??any one else international before it returns to North America?
lambygirl CAN (US/CAN )
AlterEgoZoe US
hyphen8 US
Romy86 AU
BillBooks AU
then back home to me.

Journal Entry 2 by wing6of8wing at Salt Lake City, Utah USA on Wednesday, January 02, 2013
When I met Erishkigal for snacks and chatting, she passed along this book to me, since I am one of only two people to sign up for the bookring so far. I am looking forward to this and will hopefully get it read before the next local meet-up. If someone there is interested in reading it and promises not to let it linger on Mt. TBR, I may lend it to them temporarily before I ship it off to the other interested reader in New Zealand.

Journal Entry 3 by wing6of8wing at Silver Spring, Maryland USA on Friday, January 25, 2013
I am so glad I had the chance to read this book and I will be talking it up at the meet-up tomorrow, in hopes of getting someone to sign up for the book ring in the future. My parents worked with people with disabilities for most of my life and I had several foster siblings who had various physical and mental challenges, including blindness, cerebal palsy, and very limited speech. I have friends now who are in wheelchairs for different reasons. For me, this book was a natural interest, but I was surprised by how very much I learned and how much my eyes were opened to different things.

The one that sticks with me all the time now is the concept of the weighted door in public restrooms -- I have always known some of the stalls are vastly inadequate and some are decent but still need improvement -- I never realized that they can be so heavy that a person with a disability might not be able to open it. That is something I will work on being cognizant of and alert for. The other thing that I got a better understanding of is the reluctance to always have to ask for help for things others take for granted. In law school, my friend in a wheelchair mentioned one day that he had his sister go to the library with him to study on weekends, because he was more comfortable asking her to pull books off shelves that were too high or too low than constantly asking the overworked librarians for help. I never was successful in persuading him to ask me, even though I practically lived in the library.

Many other thought-provoking and inspirational aspects of this book, including the fact that Nancy is so adamant that she should not be seen as brave or heroic or inspirational for just living her life as best she can in difficult circumstances. Will definitely keep my eye out for other things by this author to read.

Journal Entry 4 by wing6of8wing at -- Mail or by hand - rings, RABCK, meetings, District of Columbia USA on Friday, January 25, 2013

Released 7 yrs ago (1/25/2013 UTC) at -- Mail or by hand - rings, RABCK, meetings, District of Columbia USA


Popped this book in the mail to Edwardstreet in New Zealand. The line to read this book may be short, but the distances it will travel are not! Enjoy!

Journal Entry 5 by wingEdwardstreetwing at Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In my letter box when I got home from holiday. Will read asap and then move on

Journal Entry 6 by wingEdwardstreetwing at To a friend, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- Nepal on Thursday, February 21, 2013

Released 7 yrs ago (2/22/2013 UTC) at To a friend, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- Nepal


A bookring book posted to Nepal today. I particularly liked pages 122 and 123. The issue of ante natal screening and euthanasia is being debated widely here in New Zealand. As a disability advocate I have remained quiet about these issues as I am also a supporter of the right to choose.
The author uses an argument I had not thought of - that people are not able to make a genuine level playing field choice, if all the suppports necessary to allow the person with the disability to have a quality life are not in place. Fantastic. I will be developing this argument to use in my advocacy and lobbying work.
My heartfelt thanks.

Journal Entry 7 by lils74 at Kathmandu, Bagmati (incl. Kathmandu Valley) Nepal on Tuesday, March 12, 2013
This arrived safely in my mailbox today, all the way from New Zealand. Thank you for posting it so far, Edwardstreet! This book sounds really interesting and I'm looking forward to it. Thanks for sharing, Erishkigal!

ETA: Edwardstreet, thank you for the beautiful "Humanity Rose" Red Cross Bookmark that you included in the book; it's so beautiful, I really love it!

Journal Entry 8 by lils74 at Kathmandu, Bagmati (incl. Kathmandu Valley) Nepal on Wednesday, March 20, 2013
This is a great book that was surprisingly readable despite the topic, which would be considered by many to be depressing. Nancy Mairs is frank and refreshing, and it really was a joy to read. I found the highlights to be where she shares experiences she has had, as living in a wheelchair (or indeed, the process that leads to it) is something I cannot even imagine and reading it helps me to put myself "in the shoes" (or the chair) of others and that was both inspirational and informative. Some of the more scholarly ruminations were a little drier, but they were not a major part of the book.
Also, I did read this from the perspective of having lived in a third world country for seventeen years now. Some things mentioned were shocking--I had no idea that the doors in public bathrooms cannot be opened from the inside by a disabled person, and of course the fact that health choices and treatments are often denied them by insurances companies due to expense is beyond sad; things like this and more should undoubtedly be changed. But (and I hope this is not insensitive to those with disabilities) but some things seem a bit like first-world problems when I see the plight of the disabled here. People here in wheelchairs who can't afford a scooter (which are just normal scooters, modified locally) just drive their wheelchairs--manually--in the traffic with the cars and all the other vehicles buzzing around them. It's crazy to watch, especially how cheerfully and competently they manage. Sidewalks, such as they are, would be far too broken up to drive on. I am amazed at the bravery of those with handicaps here, despite the sad lack of facilities. I am referring here to the indignation in the book that not every church, shop, or restaurant is fitted for those with wheelchairs. In so many places, it is much worse--nothing is wheelchair accessible. A lot of progress has been made, but there is still a ways to go in just awareness. Shortly after I first arrived in Nepal, a local businessman who owns a chain of very popular local fast-food restaurants decided to employ only deaf men and women in a few of his branches. It was a great success, but what stuck with me most was the shock that I heard so many people express after eating at these outlets(and these are well-educated, middle or upper class Nepalis) as they would say "It was so amazing--they are so competent, so smart, they understood me, it was such a surprise" etc. As if this was an unexpected discovery. Until just recently the hearing impaired were considered to be retarded, incapable of learning or caring for themselves, and were often just locked up, which is a reason for this reaction.
Any rate, I am sorry to have gone on for so long, and I in no way mean to belittle the situations that a disabled person in a first-world country finds himself or herself in. And of course we should always fight for change, I was just bringing up another angle. If anyone feels I'm out of line, please feel free to tell me! I didn't mean to make this so long; as I have spent a lot of time teaching disabled children here in Nepal, I have thought about it a lot. Hope I haven't offended anyone or inadvertently belittled the plight of those in the US who face these challenges by what I said.

Journal Entry 9 by lils74 at Kathmandu, Bagmati (incl. Kathmandu Valley) Nepal on Monday, April 29, 2013

Released 7 yrs ago (4/29/2013 UTC) at Kathmandu, Bagmati (incl. Kathmandu Valley) Nepal


Oh my goodness! I feel terrible that although I read this quickly, I didn't post it for ages. But it's on its way now, at last. Speedy and safe travels, little book! Thank you Erishkigal, for including me in this ring, and I'm sorry for holding it up.

Journal Entry 10 by saskiasosmile at Whitby, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, May 05, 2013
Thanks lils74 for sending this book to me and thankd to Erishkigal for making it available.
After reading the posts here from previous readers, I would start immediately, but I will finish my present read and another one promised to pass on.

Journal Entry 11 by saskiasosmile at Whitby, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, May 26, 2013
Im an nearing the end of this book and have found the address of the next bookcrosser taking part in this ring on rabck.com
In about a week it should be in the post.

Journal Entry 12 by saskiasosmile at Whitby, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Released 7 yrs ago (5/28/2013 UTC) at Whitby, North Yorkshire United Kingdom


The next reader for this book is Vedranaster.
I am glad I have read this book because I have learned something.

Journal Entry 13 by vedranaster at Zagreb, Zagreb City Croatia on Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Arrived safe and sound! Thanks, saskiasosmile. :)
I've just finished the book I was reading, so I'll be diving into this one right away.

Journal Entry 14 by vedranaster at Zagreb, Zagreb City Croatia on Saturday, August 24, 2013
Well, I tried, I really did... But despite the very interesting topic I just couldn't get into the book due to the way it is written. Even though I'm more or less at home with English, it IS a second language nonetheless, and I found myself having to look up some uncommon words quite often. At one point there were more weird words in a sentence than ordinary ones, and that was just the beginning of a very weird paragraph.

Generally I don't mind this, on the contrary, it gives me an opportunity to expand my vocabulary, but when it detracts from an unfamiliar topic which I am very much trying to understand mentally and emotionally, anything that draws me out of the book that often is a major annoyance.

As this book has been with me for three months already, I think it's time to move it on. I've contacted the next in line, and will send the book at the end of next week.
Thanks for sharing, and for your patience! :)

Journal Entry 15 by vedranaster at Zagreb, Zagreb City Croatia on Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Released 7 yrs ago (9/6/2013 UTC) at Zagreb, Zagreb City Croatia


The book is now in the care of the Post Office, on its way to jax987654321 in the UK.

Enjoy! :)

Journal Entry 16 by wingjax987654321wing at Ealing, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, September 12, 2013
Received as a book ring. Am just finishing another one and then will read this. It looks like a good read.

Journal Entry 17 by wingjax987654321wing at Ealing, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, October 05, 2013
I enjoyed this book. Each chapter was different, some lighter than others, some more challenging than others. It gives a real insight into the issues surrounding people with disabilities or "cripples" as she so nicely describes herself! She doesn't shy away from difficult issues, such as euthanasia and abortion, which many authors would do. I already have the address for the next person, so it will be moving pretty soon

Journal Entry 18 by wingjax987654321wing at Ealing, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, November 09, 2013

Released 7 yrs ago (11/9/2013 UTC) at Ealing, Greater London United Kingdom


Many apologies for hanging onto this for so long. Is now on its way across the pond.

Journal Entry 19 by lambygirl at Prince George, British Columbia Canada on Saturday, November 30, 2013
What a nice surprise to find this in the mailbox last night when I got home. I am really looking forward to this one and will start on it as soon as I finish my current read.

Journal Entry 20 by lambygirl at Prince George, British Columbia Canada on Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (12/18/2013 UTC) at Prince George, British Columbia Canada


This is a very enjoyable book with strong explanations of disability, what life is like for people with disabilities and how the author feels about her progressive form of MS. I work with people who have spinal cord injury, I have an aunt with MS and I am visually impaired from birth. Therefore, her story hits pretty close to home, but she deals with her difficult subject matter with sensitivity and honesty. I do recommend this book; however, I found the writing style in places made the otherwise excellent story drag a bit.

This book is on its way to AlterEgoZoe. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 21 by AlterEgoZoe at Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania USA on Monday, December 30, 2013
Received today and will read soon.

Journal Entry 22 by AlterEgoZoe at Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania USA on Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Released 6 yrs ago (2/11/2014 UTC) at Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania USA


Mailed to hyphen8

New order as follows -
Then back to Erishkgal

Journal Entry 23 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Sigh. When I *want* media mail to be slow, it's not - this book arrived in just two weeks, which is pretty speedy for media mail to Hawaii. :p

I have one ring book before this (currently being treated with coffee grounds in the hope that I'll be able to read it afterwards) so I'll plan to start that one after my current read, then this one will be next. It looks like an interesting read (and perhaps timely with the Paralympics coming up) so I'll try not to hold it up for too long!

Edit: the coffee grounds didn't help the other book as much as I'd hoped but Mom suggested wearing a surgical-type mask while reading it (since we have some), so I've started it and hopefully will be able to move on to THIS book soon.

Journal Entry 24 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Friday, March 21, 2014

Released 6 yrs ago (3/21/2014 UTC) at Honolulu, Hawaii USA


Thanks for sharing this book: Nancy Mairs has a great attitude and a gift for sharing her experiences in a way that the "nondisabled" can identify with. Thought-provoking and consciousness-raising.

"Waist-High" will be heading to Australia tomorrow to continue its travels.

Journal Entry 25 by Billbooks at Malvern East, Victoria Australia on Friday, April 04, 2014
There are two people after me so I better get cracking but there will be a slight delay as we have the convention here and us bookcrossers here in Melbourne are out to play.

Journal Entry 26 by Billbooks at Malvern East, Victoria Australia on Friday, June 27, 2014
carmandoran.I must admit I put this aside when I first got it thinking why in the hell did I ask for this. Weiil I am very glad that I did as it was a very well written book giving an incredible incite into the day to day problems faced by people with disabilities. Here I complain about steps and such with my creaky knees. Thanks to Erishkigal for sharing this with us - now onto the next reader

Journal Entry 27 by Billbooks at Troon, Scotland United Kingdom on Thursday, July 03, 2014

Released 6 yrs ago (7/3/2014 UTC) at Troon, Scotland United Kingdom


Off to Pam99 as Carmen asked to be skipped

Journal Entry 28 by pam99 at Troon, Scotland United Kingdom on Tuesday, July 15, 2014
was waiting for me when I came back from my holiday, really looking forward to reading this one. I'm halfway through a book, will read this next.

Journal Entry 29 by pam99 at Troon, Scotland United Kingdom on Sunday, November 23, 2014
sorry to have stalled this for so long - life just got very busy! Will pm erishkigal for an address and get it on its way home... was a great read, thank you for sharing!

Journal Entry 30 by pam99 at Troon, Scotland United Kingdom on Sunday, November 23, 2014
sorry to have stalled this for so long - life just got very busy! Will pm erishkigal for an address and get it on its way home... was a great read, thank you for sharing!

Journal Entry 31 by wingerishkigalwing at Salt Lake City, Utah USA on Friday, December 26, 2014
Home again, home again, jigeddy-jog :)

Now that Waist-high is safely home again, I shall have to think where to share it next. Thank you all for sharing this book with me and each other!

Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.