November: the list

On the first day of the year, I laid out my 2018 reading goals. Here’s what’s on the list for November:

#1 Fat Fiction: Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl

Brief Description: “Veronica Walsh is 15, fashion-minded, fat, and friendless. Her summer job in the Consignment Corner section (Employees Only!) of a vintage clothing store is a dream come true. . . . But when two outrageous yet charismatic salesgirls befriend her and urge her to spy on and follow the mysterious and awkward stock boy Veronica has nicknamed the Nail, Veronica’s summer takes a turn for the weird.”

vintage veronic.jpg

#2 The Oldest Book Shelved: Joe Jones by Anne Lamott has been on the list since August 2012.

Brief Description: Joe Jones is Anne Lamott’s raucous novel of lives gathered around Jessie’s Café . . . Louise, the cook and vortex, “sexy and sweet, somewhere on the cusp between curvaceous and fat”; Joe, devoted and unfaithful; Willie, Jessie’s gay grandson, (“I thought he just had good posture,” said Jessie); Georgia, an empress dowager who never speaks; and a dozen others all living together in the sweet everyday.”

joe jones.jpg
After reading The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Lets, I know how fun diner novels can be!

#3 Newest Book Shelved: The Gifts of the Body by Rebecca Brown, purchased May of 2018

Brief Description: “The book contains ten short stories, the titles of each being associated with ‘gifts,’ which are various functions of the body, both physical and emotional: sweat, wholeness, tears, skin, hunger, mobility, death, speech, sight, hope, and mourning. The caregiver experiences each ‘gift,’ as he/she deals with patients who have AIDS, showing the different shared relationships in each case. Each patient is a distinct case, differing in terms of age, financial situation, attitude toward the illness etc., showing the reader that this disease affects all types of people.”

the gifts of the body

#4 Random Pick: Corregidora by Gayl Jones

Brief Description: “Here is Gayl Jones’s classic novel, the tale of blues singer Ursa, consumed by her hatred of the nineteenth-century slave master who fathered both her grandmother and mother.”

corregidora.jpg


*Side Note*

There are some books I need to catch up on from previous months’ lists. I’ve been trying to get through some novels by selecting books off my list to read to my husband before bed. Typically, we have a conversation and choose a book together, but he’s being a sport about it. Reading Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood ate up most of my October. I need to catch up on:

  1. God, The Moon, and Other Megafauna by Kellie Wells (from February)
  2. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (from October–tried the audiobook; couldn’t follow actor’s accent, so I’ll have to read the paperback)
  3. Every Tongue Got to Confess by Zora Neale Hurston (from October)
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33 comments

  1. I really like your featured quote Melanie. It’s such a great reminder to re-focus and enjoy November as my ‘new start’!

    The Gifts of the Body sound really intriguing, I like its premise. I sometimes forget about gifts my body offers me and those short stories could be both extremely powerful and emotional read. I am looking forward to your review of this book.

    • I chose that quote because some months I don’t get through all the books I said I would read. It’s about forgiveness.

      I’m excited about the body book too. I haven’t read much in the way of short stories this year. I’m hoping these stories remind us all to be kind to our bodies. We forget that bodies and everything they do are pretty amazing!

      • It is a great reminder for sure. I saved this quote and will be using it as my own reminder as I could be sometimes hard on myself.

        A few years ago, I had to go through a reconstructive surgery of my knee ligaments. I had to learn how to walk again and all my ‘body issues’ all of sudden seemed trivial. I started appreciating my body much more after that and the gift of walking is something I will never take for granted. Looking forward to hearing what you think of that book.

  2. What I like the best about your list is that it’s varied. I think a varied diet of reading keeps us aware of what’s going on in the book world. You’ve got some great stuff here.

  3. I like the sounds of Vintage Veronica. Personally I really enjoy reading your fat fiction series because I’ve never been ‘fat’, but I’m fascinated by how women deal with being overweight, what they experience, the emotions they go through, etc. It’s so important for me to put myself in their shoes, because I want to know how to empathize with this part of the population better.

    I experienced a bit of it when I was pregnant, especially with Arthur because I gained almost 60 pounds with him, and losing the baby weight has been challenging, although not as challenging as I’m sure other women have felt trying to lose weight either. I enjoy exercising, which helps, but I’m terrible at denying myself foods that I like (read: chocolate) so I’ve never been a dieter.

    When I was young I had terrible acne, so I’ve had my fair share of self-consciousness, but never about my weight, so I really like reading your reviews on these very important books!

    • Ahhhh, I have so many conflicting thoughts about this comment! I love that you are interested in my goal to read more books about fat women with positive representation. It’s really about seeing fat people as people. They eat and love and get sad and get their swerve on and have kids and jobs and take out the trash. Regardless of a person’s body, she deserves respect and dignity. The problem comes when people look at a fat body and judge it as lazy, undisciplined, as if the owner of the body has “given up.” As if this person is a sad loser. An example to thin people putting on weight.

      You almost sound sad that you are not dieting–that you are “terrible at denying.” Whether you each chocolate or not, you deserve respect and dignity. Whether or not you lose weight you gained while pregnant, you deserve respect and dignity. People often try to deny themselves food or lose weight so society will respect them and treat them with dignity. My crusade is to show that body size is not connected to whether or not we should treat someone well.

      Something I’ve been trying the last couple of years is to not comment on anyone’s body ever. If it’s a style thing, like an outfit or accessory, sure. But not their actual body. This has SERIOUSLY changed my thinking. Maybe I should write a blog post about it!

      • Oh I like that idea! I’d definitely be interested in that blog post.

        You’re right in that I’m a bit ashamed that I can’t ‘deny’ myself certain foods. It’s not necessarily about weight for me when it comes to not eating as much chocolate though. Like…eating too much chocolate gives me headaches, and I think it contributes to my frequent yeast infections, but I find it really difficult to limit my intake! I am actually addicted to sugar, I crave it after not eating it for a few hours, and I’m trying to curb that habit. My goal is to eat to live, not live to eat, but I can’t help but look forward to treats all the time 😦

  4. Another eclectic month ahead – you always manage to get a good variety into your reading. Hope you enjoy them! My pick of this bunch would probably be Corregidora, so I’ll be awaiting your review…

  5. Interested in how you like the Anne Lamott. I can’t remember if I’ve read this one but I know I’ve read at least two of her novels. I happen prefer her nonfiction to her fiction. Although Blue Shoe (a later novel) was good.

  6. Oh, Corregidora is a difficult one. At least, it was for me. I read it some time ago and can’t recall the plot very well, but I do remember it being very sad and painful.

    • Some British narrators tend to read very fast. I struggle just a bit with British accents, but if it’s fast, it’s a mystery to me. I’ve started reading the paperback version and having a good time! Will Mildred end up with Rockingham? Perhaps Julian??

  7. I’d love to read that Gayl Jones novel and I was just browsing through it on a library trip last month (to a further-from-home branch) but I just can’t see fitting it into my November. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it though. Also, I love Lamott’s Bird by Bird, but haven’t really hit it off with her other books, although I am a sucker for stories about cafes. I’m thinking of Gloria Naylor straight off, but i know there are more!

  8. I read Excellent Women in the summer and enjoyed it very much, I just need to write my review (so behind). Also the Hurston sounds good too. I need to take your advice on the category and lay out my reading for this month and next.

    • Yeah! Just decide to do one book per week and then pick four categories that work for you. It’s helpful, especially if you’re in a slump, because you already have a list you committed to.

  9. I appreciate the transparency about the books you are behind with. That said, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. It’s important to remember that goals are desired results. We cannot expect to achieve them 100% of the time. We have to give ourselves room to miss goals and adjust to improve in the future. I made a silly mistake and have 9 450+ page books to read this month. O_o Oops. I obviously won’t be achieving everything this month.

    Out of all your books, I am most interested in Vintage Veronica. The synopsis just grabs me! I look forward to hearing about your November progress. 🙂

    • It’s really worked well with my goals. And caring this monthly post reinvigorates my desire to read the books. I think a lot of times that book bloggers buy books and then don’t read them because they forget what made them by the book in the first place. A list about what I’m going to read gives me the opportunity to look again at the synopsis of each text.

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