What I read in July

Gah, July was a frustrating month again reading-wise. It might have been that my focus was elsewhere, but it also might have been because I am picking “heavier” books these days (no pun intended). I started How to be an anti-racist by Ibram X. Kendi but didn’t finish it before my library loan expired (so I’ll have to review it next time). 

The only other book I finished was

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon (★★★★☆)

“I wanted to write a lie”.

With this first line, Laymon begins to tell a difficult story – his own – growing up as a black son to a single mother in Jackson, Mississippi. 

This book is heavy… in all possible senses of the word, but it’s also brilliant, deeply raw, and honest. It reads like journal entries, sometimes a little confusing, sometimes repetitive, that he addresses to his mother, who subjected him to physical and emotional abuse throughout his upbringing. Laymon touches on every aspect of his life  – the struggles of being a man in a black body, obesity and subsequent phases of anorexia, physical and verbal abuse, friendships, relationships, sex, racism, and gambling addiction. He could have sugarcoated and hidden, forgotten, and twisted his own story, but he chose to tell the very difficult truth. 

Despite it all, he managed to graduate from college and become an inspiring writer. Read this and tell me you’re not touched by his vulnerability and his talent to let you feel his pain through the power of his own words.

What did you read in July? Anything you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment, and then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch.

  1. Ooh this sounds like a good one. I will have to check it out. I’ve been trying to read more books by Black authors as well as antiracist books. How to Be and Antiracist is definitely a heavy read. I read one chapter/night which is not typical for me but I found I couldn’t read more than that since it’s a heavy topic and I needed to let it ‘sink in.’ Brene Brown interviews him on her podcast – I’d recommmend listening to that episode after you read the book. It helped the content sink in more for me!

    I read more than usual during July – 11 books. I don’t really know how I did that, but I started the month with a string of lighter/fast reads. I’m finding I need light reads to offset the heavier antiracism books I’m reading. But I completely recognized that I’m very privileged in being able to read lighter content/balance out the heaviness of the fight against antiracism.

    1. Highly recommend this book, but yes, trying to read more books by black authors and antiracists books is what I’ve been seeking out and it has definitely slowed me down (which is a good thing, I guess, because I also do want to let things “sink in” and not just race through them. I think that would be counterproductive.) But sometimes a little lighter book in between is a good idea.

  2. Definitely sounds like Heavy is aptly titled! Hopefully you can fit in a lighter read this month. :) Gotta balance it out sometimes.


  3. I have never heard of this book. It sounds like a journey though and getting real is always what makes it a good book in my opinion.

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