Catherine buys books; you might want to read some of them
I buy a lot of books. I plan to read them, but work and laundry and friends and phone get in my way. Which is to say that I get in my own way. I’ve got several piles of bought-but-not-read-yet books near my nightstand, and I thought I’d share some with you. This selection may be of interest to FIFI readers, but also readers in general.
In no particular order, here’s a small selection of books I’ve bought that I mean to read or re-read this year:
Lands of Lost Borders: a Journey on the Silk Road, by Kate Harris. It’s a bike travel story, which I love. In this one she and a friend bike in remote parts of China. I’m extra-interested in reading this because I’ve mountain biked with her (she’s a friend of friends). She’s Canadian, just FYI for my friends north of the border…
Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life, by Darcey Steinke. This memoir and commentary on menopause offers another way to think about changes in our lives, which I’m paying a lot of attention to these days. Also, all this blogging has put me on a path to do more creative non-fiction writing, so I’m reading more memoir and personal essays. Maybe we all are– there’s so much to learn from getting a glimpse at the inside of someone else’s life. Blogging scratches the surface of that, and I’m interested in what’s in the layers below.
Fearing the Black Body: the Racial Origins of Fat Phobia, by Sabrina Strings. If you decide to read one book on this list, read this one. I’ve started it, and will spend some dedicated time with to this book. Its main message is this: the ideal of slenderness is, at its very core, racialized and racist.
I had bought this book a while back, but got distracted by other things and other books. Then, I listened to an interview with her by Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom on the podcast Hear to Slay (which is now the Roxane Gay Agenda, worth subscribing to on Luminary). I’m sold, and I bet you will be, too.
Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer, by Lynne Cox. In addition to being in the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Lynne has an asteroid named after her: asteroid 37588 Lynnecox. I don’t think I know anyone who has their own asteroid namesake. Sam and maybe other of our bloggers have read this, and the reviews are good.
Pelvic Liberation: using yoga, self-inquiry, and breath awareness for pelvic health, by Leslie Howard. Even though Leslie doesn’t (as far as I know) have her own asteroid, she’s done a lot of work developing and teaching yoga practices aimed at improving pelvic floor health. NOTE: I’m not claiming that yoga will cure whatever ails us in our pelvic regions. There are lots of health care professionals out there, and I’m not one of them. What I like is that the book contains loads of illustrated yoga poses, many of them supportive, along with explanations about benefits and how to incorporate them into my regular yoga practice.
Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women, by Kate Manne. In this book, Kate reveals how misogyny and toxic masculinity enroll all of us through comprehensive socialization. She also offers ways to identify and shift our modes of thinking about who’s entitled to what to expand girls’ and women’s power. This book was written after her brilliant Down Girl, a philosophical analysis of misogyny. I’ve read Down Girl but not yet gotten to Entitled. Now’s the time.
All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. I’ve both listened to and read work by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. She is a climate scholar and activist whose message is not “We’re screwed!” but instead “Let’s talk about all we can save!” Yes, let’s do that.
I also heard about this book on the Hear to Slay podcast interview with Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (maybe you’re getting the idea that this is a good source of new and interesting ideas…) It’s an anthology of short pieces by 60 women at the forefront of the climate movement. The work is divided into sections called Root, Advocate, Reframe, Reshape, Persist, Feel, Nourish, and Rise. We meet familiar names and new voices that honor and mourn losses, but also call us to save places around us, both big and small.
I could go on, but this is good as a start (both for me and for y’all).
Readers, have you read any of these books already? Have you bought them but not read them? Do you have any books you recommend for us to read this year? Please do let us know. I’m always up for book recommendations.