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review 2018-01-01 22:55
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
Bad Feminist: Essays - Roxane Gay

I had this book on my NOOK for at least two years. I wanted to read it in those two years, but felt intimated because Ms. Gay is an intellectual and just highly freaking smart (I follow her on Twitter). I am now kicking myself for waiting so long to discover her writing.

 

Damn, Ms. Gay gets me - at times I thought she actually knew me or was in my head (a fellow SVH-er who also hated what FP did to the franchise with that SVH Confidential book). The chapter on race and pop culture was the one part that I didn't have any ideas or opinions about going in (I've no desire to see Django Unchained or Birth of a Nation). But when she laid into The Help - OMG YES. I love her dissection into the women who go on reality television shows. I did not realize Scrabble could be competitive on an official level (although playing against me makes any Scrabble match competitive because that is one game I refuse to lose to anybody).

 

Her writing can be all over the place at times (for example, two very different pop culture items in the same essay), but she shows how those are related and how they are part of American society and culture. She is brutally frank about her sexual assaults and rape culture, so gentle warning. She also has no problem NOT knowing all the answers; a couple of quips along the line of "I like X.....don't know what they says about me" - that kind of honesty is so refreshing.

 

A great read to end 2017.

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text 2017-12-31 12:49
December 2017 Wrap Up
Bad Feminist: Essays - Roxane Gay
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape - Jenna Miscavige Hill,Sandy Rustin,Lisa Pulitzer

Last monthly wrap up of 2017. So many DNFs.....

 

Challenges

BL/GR: 166/150 Complete!

Pop Sugar: 52/52 Complete!

Library Love: 2; 54/36 Complete!

16 Tasks: 32 points total

 

Books Read:

1. Saga Volumes 2-4 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples - 4 stars to each volume

 

2. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterley - 5 stars (Recommend especially to the Flat Earth Society reading group, but I am going to be recommending this book to EVERY DAMN BODY in 2018)

 

3. Let Us Dream (from the anthology Daughters of a Nation) by Alyssa Cole - 2.5 stars

 

4. Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected by Kelle Hampton - 0 stars

 

5. Selected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes - 2 stars

 

6. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang - 3.5 stars

 

7. I Know What I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee - 3 stars

 

8. Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxanne Gay - 4 stars

 

Books Re-Read:

9. Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

 

Currently Reading: Beyond Belief: My Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill (50% completed)

 

 

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review 2017-12-06 23:24
Hunger
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body - Roxane Gay

This book is heartbreaking, soul-baring, and gut-wrenching, but even through all of that, there is the tiniest spec of cautious hope, which I found amazing. Roxane Gay's story is not easy to read, but you need to read it. I was devastated, and shamed, and called out for my ignorance, thoughtless comments and occasionally averted eyes. I am not proud of any of this, but I was also given a path to understanding, and I will take it.

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review 2017-10-30 20:48
Hunger by Roxane Gay
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body - Roxane Gay

I read this book shortly after Sherman Alexie’s You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, and the two have a lot in common. Like Alexie’s book, this one is emotionally raw and intense, and deals with very personal subjects; it is full of the author’s feelings about her life, but not quite the story of her life, conspicuously omitting some elements while baring her soul about others; whether to counteract the intensity of its subject matter or due to the author’s trauma, it is made up of a large number of short chapters; and as a result, it’s addictive reading that I finished much more quickly than I expected. Perhaps predictably, I liked this book better than Alexie’s, because it’s mostly chronological and contains no poems and is generally focused. Hunger may be best described as Roxane Gay’s reflection on her life through the lens of her size – she’s extremely overweight, though not as much as she used to be. The story of her life that emerges is bare-bones for a memoir and full of gaps and vagueness, but the account of her emotions and of living in the world in a body of her size holds back very little.

As Gay warns readers early on, this isn’t a triumphant or how-to sort of book about weight. But for readers who haven’t personally dealt with obesity, there are a couple of major takeaways. One is that most people probably haven’t reached “morbid obesity” simply by being self-indulgent or ignorant about healthy choices; for Gay, her initial overeating and her fear of losing weight are intimately bound up with a terrible childhood trauma, and this seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

The other is that being far larger than the average person complicates almost every aspect of one’s life. Some of it is constant family and social judgment and pressure to lose weight, and societal messaging that obese people are worthless. Apparently there are people out there who can’t resist taking food out of others’ shopping carts as if this is somehow going to solve anyone’s problems. Some of it is simple physical consequences, like moving more slowly than others and being in pain much of the time. And some of it is the way physical spaces aren’t set up to accommodate people of Gay’s size: she writes about having constant bruises on her legs from chair arms, about being unable to climb up on the stage unassisted at a speaking event, and about having a difficult time finding clothes to fit her (and then not feeling like she’s permitted to wear colorful or attractive clothes).

I think some people have the impression, perhaps unconsciously, that extremely overweight people don’t realize their weight is a problem (because if they did they’d have lost it already) and that if we don’t point it out and punish them for it, they won’t fix it. But of course the absurdity is clear: we live in a weight-obsessed culture, where someone like Gay has to brace herself for harassment or humiliation every day; treating people poorly won’t help anything. This book walks a fine line in its discussions of body image and health, and in my judgment it’s successful. Gay hardly trumpets her weight as an ideal, but she still sees loving her body as a valid goal, and calls out the medical establishment’s over-obsession with weight. When she comes in with strep throat, focusing on her obesity isn’t helpful – and many people (doctors and otherwise) hide simple social judgment behind purported “health” concerns over conditions she doesn’t actually have.

So, this is a great book to read for improving understanding and hopefully sensitivity toward others. It’s also well-written and a quick read. I’m a facts-driven kind of gal and would have liked it better if we’d learned more detail about the author’s life, but that clearly isn’t the focus of this particular book. Nevertheless, I recommend it.

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review 2017-10-13 16:36
Body armor
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body - Roxane Gay

Today I'm going to attempt to form some coherent thoughts about my experience reading Roxane Gay's newest book entitled Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. Some of you might have already had this book on your radar because of the huge amount of press that it got right after its release. This is an extremely personal account of Roxane's experiences as an obese woman in our society (which is obsessed with being skinny as you know). However, it's less a commentary on that than a self-exploration of her relationship with food and her body. You might recognize Gay's name from my review of her frank assessment of feminism and how she identifies herself (not just as a feminist but all-around human). I thought that she had pushed the envelope with her openness and willingness to 'go there' with that book but reading Hunger was a whole new experience. For one thing, this isn't a book about the trials and tribulations of being overweight in America and how she's planning on using this book as a tool to get her life back on track. No, this is a cathartic exercise in purging some of the darkness that she has had buried inside for too long. (I'm trying to not give away too much because her writing of the events of her life is kinda the whole point of the book.) This book will make you rethink the way that you look at your own body and how you make assumptions about other people based on their bodies. It is not meant to be preachy or shaming. It's one woman opening up about a horrific experience in her life and how that changed her forever. I think this is the kind of book that everyone should read because it opens your eyes to yourself, to others, and makes you think. 9/10 definitely recommend

 

What's Up Next: The Book That Changed America: How Darwin's Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation by Randall Fuller

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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