Publik / Private 2018 Fall & Winter Reading List

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Hunger: A Memoir of Body by Roxane Gay

It’s been at least a year since I’ve compiled a reading list. To be frank, it is because I haven’t been reading as much as I would have liked earlier this year. The beginning of 2018 has been filled with work, travel, family and dealing with my own health issues. I have to admit that I am a bit embarrassed with the fact that I began to read Roxane Gay’s Hunger this month (October), even though it was released in June of 2017.

When I was made aware of the release of Hunger, all I could do was think, “I’m glad she waited to tell her story and address her body on her own terms.” As a writer who understands marketing, demographic targeting and the pressure of the publishing industry, I was so happy Gay wasn’t convinced to make her memoir her debut release. She wasn’t pushed to give everything she had, only to end up emptied and reconnecting with her trauma before her sophomore book. It goes without saying that Roxane Gay’s body is her own, and in waiting to get to a point where her career was mature she had the creative control that gave her the opportunity to reveal her private life only when she was ready.

And when I finally read the book, I was relieved, inspired and comforted. Stylistically, she wrote in a way that I have been criticized for – writing with vulnerability and sensitivity. Many times her sentences were redundant, which showed her how she emotionally struggled to get through every word. Her structure was human, not sterilized and overly polished. I needed to read this book at the time I read it. I would not have been able to sit with it and understand it months ago, before I came to peace with my own body.

Along with Roxane Gay’s Hunger: A Memoir of Body, here are other books I have been reading and will be completing this winter. I highly recommend them. They’re feeding me.

Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Continue reading

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Publik / Private 2017 Reading List

I used to think I was good at writing introductions. Now as the years go by, including this one, I cannot announce that I doubt my choices, cadence and intuition when it comes to my writing, but after writing so many introductions, so many lead sentences, so many year-end pieces, I find it important to reflect on exactly what it is I mean to say…every single day.

Some say to become a better writer, you need to read. I agree with that and more times that not, I like to read more than I write. Reading helps me form my thoughts. Books help me expand my theories and learn about history. They help me speak with vigor and knowledge on topics I’m called to lecture on…but more importantly, they help me slow down.

When I read I can escape the fast paced culture of American urban living. I can take time and head to a library or a bookstore and not have to talk. I don’t have to answer and retort, I don’t have to smile or become angry due to an engaging conversation. I don’t have to explain myself. Continue reading