I have been a voracious (compulsive?) reader since I was little. Winning my 6th grade class reading competition ranks high on the list of my life accomplishments. Barely edging out Aaron Brooks (he was a very reasonable 2nd placeman, despite my gloating) made my little heart soar. And I can still remember pouring over the Scholastic Book Fair catalogues with equal parts excitement and distress – how many books will my parents let me buy and how can I possibly choose with so many incredible options at my fingertips??
Fast-forward to today and I still have fantasies of a paid sabbatical where I can read and read and read. So after getting some requests via social media, I thought it’d be fun to provide you with a summer reading guide. I have divided them up in two categories: 1. books I have recently read and loved and 2. books on the docket. I’ve decided to include work and non-work related books because, why not? We need balance in all things, right?
Books I’ve Recently Read and Loved
Landwhale by Jes Baker
Jes writes a memoir from the perspective of a fat, body positive activist. But it’s a book I would recommend to anyone, fat or not, who wants to intimately connect with a wise and sassy soul who is determined to make peace with food and her body. I deeply appreciated her nuanced voice, stunning honesty, and thoughts about shifting from body positivity to body liberation. Important note: If you are sensitive to swears, then this books is definitely not for you. Additionally, she was raised Mormon and speaks quite a bit about how her religious upbringing had a negative impact on her self-esteem and body image. So if you or your client aligns with more traditional Christian values, those parts might feel difficult or off-putting.
Fat Activism by Charlotte Cooper
Ok, I’m cheating. I can’t mark this as “read” because I am “currently reading,” but I couldn’t send this newsletter off without giving it a mention. This book reads more as an academic text – a far cry from Jes’ memoir! She frames fat activism as a vital social justice movement and infuses research that is centered on the lives of fat people. I can tell that this book will challenge and encourage me to push my boundaries. Excellent.
Note, are you cringing at the word “fat” every time you read it? That’s because we’ve been conditioned to think of “fat” as a bad word, rather than a neutral descriptor. As you can imagine, if most of us (all of us?) are conditioned to think of fat as bad, how are folks in fat bodies likely to be treated in our culture? Important food for thought.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Shifting away from work, “Homegoing” is one of the most uniquely and beautifully written stories I have ever read. Set in both Ghana and the US, and spanning 300 years and multiple generations, this book will crack you wide open and break your heart all at the same time. I rarely give books a 5/5 rating. This one hits the mark.
Books on the Docket
I have a bazillion books waiting to be read so I’ll keep this reasonably short. In no particular order:
- The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
- Eat up! By Ruby Tandoh
- Journeys of Embodiment at the Intersection of Body and Culture by Niva Piran
- Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky with Connie Burk
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel (can’t believe I haven’t read this one yet)
- Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
- A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Now I want to hear from you. What is the best book you have read in 2018? Head on over to Facebook and let me know!!