November 14, 2022 7:53 AM EST

Philosophy professor and author Chloé Cooper Jones’ sprawling memoir, Easy Beauty, is as shaped by location—from Brooklyn to Rome to Utah to Milan to Phnom Penh, Cambodia—as it is by the world’s most prominent thinkers, including Plotinus, Immanuel Kant, Iris Murdoch, and Maria Popova. In fact, it is British philosopher Bernard Bosanquet’s theory of “easy beauty” that gives the memoir its name. Whereas Bosanquet defines “easy beauty” as “plain straightforward pleasure” brought by the “apparent and unchallenging,” Jones, who was born with sacral agenesis, explores the idea of “difficult beauty,” in which “one often encounters intricacy, tension, and width.” Easy Beauty is an exquisite exploration of disability, identity, and the human capacity to do (and be) more than we’ve ever dreamed. —Laura Zornosa

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