Roxane Gay’s Hunger Helped Me Recognize My Goth Roots Stem from Something Darker

Hunger, Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist

Roxane Gay‘s latest book, Hunger, opens up with “Every body has a story and a history. Here I offer mine with a memoir of my body and my hunger.” (3). Gay writes of being fat in a world that shames and demeans people for taking up space. And she looks at her body’s history: how did she get where she is? Why does she weigh so much? What happened to create this body? It wasn’t merely eating. It wasn’t just not taking exercise or being weak or lazy. I could not handle some of the physical challenges she’s endured. Hunger is not a self-help book, it’s not a feel-good book, nor is it a change-your-life book. And while it is not any of those things, this book is everything to me. This book is a writer opening up about her past, exposing the very things so many of us don’t talk about, this book made me feel connected to her in a way very few authors do.

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T2 Trainspotting—Living With but Not in Your Past

Trainspotting, Porno, Irvine Welsh, Renton, Begbie, Spud, Sickboy

T2 Trainspotting, based on the novel of the same name and the sequel, Glue, was released last week. I was so obscenely excited that I started to question why. Have I truly not grown since I saw the first movie? What does this say about me that I’ve become so invested in some characters from my past?

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Tired of watching my back and my vagina—But not gonna stop

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The day after the election, I was inconsolable, like many people. I couldn’t come to terms with what happened. And so I wrote. I wrote something that I didn’t post because it was not who I want to be. Yes, it was how I felt, and who I was at that moment, but it is not who I am. It was a very broken piece, filled with sadness, and not much else. Just mourning.

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Paul Beatty’s Reluctant Hero in The Sellout—Reinstitutes Segregation and Accidentally Acquires a Slave To Save his Hometown

The Sellout, Paul Beatty

 

Paul Beatty’s brilliant satire, The Sellout is about a present-day man who accidentally acquires a slave and loves his former town so much that he physically redefines its town lines and reinstitutes segregation. I bought the book because it sounded like a thought-provoking and challenging satire, one of the cover blurbs, called it “Swiftian satire of the highest order.” I assumed I would appreciate the humor and the authorial voice, but detest the protagonist. But Beatty created an incredibly likable character, one that truly means well but can’t help when strange things happen to him (like having a suicidal man he saved pledge his life as a slave to him). He ends up in the Supreme Court as a result of his trying to improve his community. Continue reading →

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ New History in Between the World and Me

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Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote Between the World and Me as a letter to his fifteen year old son growing into a black man in America. This letter, is 152 pages long. Because this work feels precisely like a letter, it results almost in guilt while reading it because you feel all the love and pain and anguish and anger that Coates experiences and expresses to his son. These are emotions that aren’t generally shared when writing about American history.* Books about history can induce anger, frustration, and guilt, but those are experienced by the reader, and not outright expressed by the writer. Why? Because we were told that history is what actually existed. We do not learn until later that history alters by who is telling the history, who is the writer, the “academic.” And so these “history” books we read growing up, are very one-sided, and of course, emotions are removed, falsely assuming objectivity. But how are they objective when they are only telling one version?

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