Roxane Gay, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. London: Coursair, 2017.

Roxane Gay gives us a deeply personal account of her body and her relationship to it. Throughout the book, her experience of rape at age 12, as well as other experiences, are directly tied to her ongoing hunger for food as it relates to a need to live in a large body. Gay comes to an understanding of how enlarging her body is tied to feeling safe in a world fraught with bodily danger for black, queer women.  Hunger inspires us to unlearn prevailing attitudes toward those whose bodies might be called “fat.” It also makes us [re]consider how our identities and pasts may (or may not) inhabit our own lived bodies. Practically, it also has given me a critical eye to how larger bodies inhabit spaces, passageways and even chairs - are they accessible and safe for all bodies? Roxane Gay gives us some useful criticism on these issues too.

 –Ellen Belcher


Meghan Daum, The Problem with Everything: My Journey Through the New Culture Wars. New York: Gallery Books, 2019.

In her newest book, author and essayist Meghan Daum takes on the hot button issues of the day including the #metoo movement, identity politics and political correctness. As a liberal feminist who doesn’t follow a script, she is provocative and self-aware, recognizing her own inner conflicts and lack of sureness about the myriad cultural controversies. The lack of sureness is her central point. And as a champion of nuance – for which she and other writers and public intellectuals are often vilified - she believes more of us should be embracing complexity rather than taking a “virtue signaling” stand on social media that feeds a destructive tribalism. As serious as her subject matter is, she writes with humor, and especially in her final pages, poignancy.

 –Kathleen Collins



More from the Fall 2019 newsletter