Roxane Gay: Hunger

First, I’ll say Hunger was a much faster read than I Almost Forgot About You, probably because it was a more interesting read. Hunger is an intimate look into Roxane Gay’s mind, feelings, and the relationship she has with her body. Some parts of it were heartbreaking, some parts made me chuckle, and others hit me square in the gut.

I cannot relate to many of Gay’s experiences, or the desire to make herself larger as a form of protection, but I can relate to navigating the world as an fat/overweight/plus size/larger/whateveryouwannacallit woman. There were several moments that stood out to me, but here are a few of the quotes that resonated with me most:

I wish, so very much, that I could write a book about triumphant weight loss… about being at peace and loving myself wholly…

…I was ashamed by how I deny myself so much and it is still not enough.

I am self-conscious beyond measure. I am intensely and constantly preoccupied with my body in the world because I know what people think and what they see when they look at me… I am hyperconscious of how I take up space… I am not supposed to take up space… I live in a contradictory space where I should try to take up space but not too much of it, and not in the wrong way, where the wrong way is any way where my body is concerned.

Have you ever been so full of feelings but you couldn’t quite put them into words? That’s how I feel about this book. Reading it makes me feel so many things that are difficult to articulate. Maybe it’s because I haven’t sat with it long enough, or maybe it’s just good without needing a detailed analysis of why it’s good. Whatever it is, I do know one thing… Gay is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors.

That’s it for today, folks. I’m preparing myself for a lovely birthday weekend, although I have no actual plans. I will spend some quality time with my mom (technically, it’s her day too because she did all the work of giving birth to me) and probably work on book stuff. I tend to get a bit reflective around my birthday, so I’ll probably journal about my hopes and dreams for this next year of my life.

Also, movies. If you’ve seen any really good ones lately (particularly sci-fi/fantasy movies), let me know. I wouldn’t mind spending one of these days in bed watching good movies.

Happy reading! Oh, and happy last day of August!

My Summer Reading List

I have come to accept I will never be one of those people who reads ten books per month… or five books per month. Some months I read one book—two if they are both really good—and sometimes I go two months without reading a single book. While it would make sense for me to shut everything off and turn to a book when I’m stressed, I usually turn on the TV instead because it is a more passive distraction than reading.

We are halfway through the year (insane!) and I’ve managed to start five books and finished two. To be fair, I’ve also been working on writing one of my own, but I have spent a lot of time letting Netflix watch me instead of picking up one of my in-progress books. In an effort to stretch my reading muscles, I have selected a few books for my summer reading list, and have given myself permission to buy physical copies of the books (yay!).

My first pick was a novel that felt like the ultimate summer read—I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan. All I know right now is that it’s about ex-boyfriends and, seeing as the only type of boyfriends I have currently are those of the ex variety, it felt like a good choice to kick off the summer (which also means I won’t start it until next week).

My second pick for the summer is Roxane Gay’s memoir, Hunger. I’ve been really into Gay’s work since reading Difficult Women, and this has been on my list for some time. As a person who has my own body-related struggles, I’m interested in the relationships other people have with their bodies and how much deeper those relationships go beyond just hating oneself.

Lastly, I purchased Long Division, a novel by Kiese Laymon. Long Division is a bit outside what I’ve been reading lately since I’ve been focused mainly on Black women authors, but I’m looking forward to whatever fun, drama, and challenges this novel presents. I think it’ll be a great way to wrap up the summer.

I have a fairly broad timeline for reading these books. Summer lasts three months, but that doesn’t mean it will take the entire three months to finish my reading list. On the other hand, maybe it will… there are a lot of other things happening on this side of the internet.

I’m interested in what titles are on your summer reading lists. Tell me what you’re going to be reading this summer and where you’re going to be reading all these interesting books. I don’t get a real vacation until November, so I’ll have to live vicariously through other people’s summer vacay photos.

Until next time… Happy Reading!