My reading challenge: 25 books by women of color in 2014

Inspired by this post, in which Victoria Law plans to read 50 books by writers of color, mostly women, I’ve decided to do my own reading challenge.

I’m going to aim to read 25 books written by women of color this year, of any and all genres. In the past two months, I’ve read only one–Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness, which I recommend highly–so I have some catching up to do!

Both Law’s post and this essay by Aimee Phan have good recommendations for books by women of color.  I’m also looking forward to Roxane Gay‘s novel An Untamed State, which will be coming out next month.

A few other books I am hoping to read:
The Summer We Got Free, by Mia McKenzie of Black Girl Dangerous
Ash by Malinda Lo
Feminism for Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism by Jessica Yee (unfortunately, my library doesn’t have this one, and I really don’t like to buy books unless I already know I like them, but I will try to get a hold of it somehow)
-Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Sarasinha’s Love Cake and Consensual Genocide (my library doesn’t have these either, sigh)

And here are a few books by WOC that I’ve read in the past and recommend for anyone doing a similar challenge–or anyone who likes good books, period:
Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I was first introduced to Adichie’s writing in college, and it’s been so exciting to see her become more and more popular, to the extent that Beyonce sampled one of her speeches in the song “Flawless.”
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Cereus Blooms At Night and He Drown She in the Sea by Shani Mootoo
Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni
A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar

What books by women of color do you like?

Reading while fat, part 2

It’s too common to be surprising, but it still stings when I can’t even read a book without being othered.

I was reading The Winter of Our Disconnect–an otherwise thoughtful and well-written book, which I’ll probably write more about later–when I came across the following passage:

Many morbidly obese individuals eat three times a day. It’s not how often they eat that creates problems. It’s what they put on their plate. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that the epidemic John Naish calls “infobesity” works in much the same way.

Those few lines snapped me out of my engaged, absorbed state and into one of frustration. Frustration with the assumption–despite all evidence to the contrary–that fat people eat more than thin people do. With the pathologizing of bodies like mine. With the casual use of fatness as a metaphor for social ills.

I have only one response to that bullshit:

Pinkie Pie is my hero.

Sidenote: I hate the phrase “morbidly obese,” and much prefer “mordantly obese.”

Big “but”s: not always a good thing

I hate when I’m reading a book and come across a sentence like this: “The applicant was fat to the point of obesity, but he was neatly dressed in work pants and a purple-and-yellow checkered shirt.”

It’s all in that conjunction.


The implication that fatness and neatness are mutually exclusive, that a well-dressed fat person is an unusual sight.

You can never get away from fat hatred.

Not even while reading a a good book, one that otherwise has very little to do with looks (Kayak Morning: Reflections on Love, Grief, and Small Boats by Roger Rosenblatt).

They add up, these microaggressions.