Just Another Book by Isma'il Abbas

"CALL ME ISMA'IL." Fans of classic literature will recognize that opening line from Herman Melville's iconic Moby Dick, a book I've read many times. Reading has been my sanity, through 30 years of incarceration and 4 years of homelessness on the streets on Manhattan following my parole. After reading more than 2,000 books in that time, I decided it was time to write my own. Just Another Bookis the odyssey of my incarceration. Like my namesake in Melvile's novel, it's the story about going up against a Leviathan--in my case that monster was a thirty-year sentence. It's my message in a bottle, and I'm putting it out there in hopes of encouraging those who are currently experiencing incarceration, the formerly incarcerated, anyone who is experiencing a significant challenge in their life or simply anyone who longs to read a good yarn. The title of my book is intentionally unassuming. Just Another Book will upend your notions about  about life in the cage and how an inmate's debt to society is never paid in full. In the real world, there is no such thing as an 'ex' con.

Risks and challenges
My principal challenge is how to fund the publishing of my book as a person experiencing homelessness. The public assistance resources I get barely cover my basic needs. Even though I have a heart condition and was diagnosed with ALS, I have been denied disability payments since my release in 2015. As ALS is a degenerative disease that attacks the nervous system, I am challenged to complete this project ahead of the advancement of this condition.


Mark Lanham
New York, NY

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