Scup Recommends July 22
What We Don't Talk about When We Talk about Fat by Aubrey Gordon
FINALLY, a book that portrays bodies like mine as protagonists in their own stories--not as villians, comical slobs, or the 'before' of a before and after.
Aubrey Gordon deftly moves from her own experiences as a fat queer woman into an analysis of the systemic oppression faced by fat folks (yes, even in 2022). Whether you're a fellow fat person needing assurance that you're not alone--or a thin, averafe sized person seeking to undrstand and unpack your privilege--I can't recommend this highly enough.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
I love Jasper Fforde's entire body of work, but this is by far my favorite 'What if?' of his or any author. Brace yourself for alternate universe UK, where dodos exist but not ducks, and a literary detective named Thursday Next can jump into books and be an all-around badass. I would die for Thursday--but she'd never need me to.
The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft
In 19th Century Poland, Jacob Frank shows up in a village as a Jewish prophet who eventually proclaims himself a Messiah, urging his followers to abandon their Jewish faith and traditions because ‘the new world is already here.’ Tokarczuk creates a truly kaleidoscopic mosaic of characters—most real people based on historical record, some fictional—and Yente, an old woman who can’t quite die, lodged between death and life. From her vantage point, she sees all. This is the story of the cult which spread around Frank, the political machinations to keep the cult together and safe as they move from place to place. It’s the story of the life of Jews in Poland, the constant persecution by the Church and the populace, the pogroms and exile. It’s the story of how religion becomes political and how the religious use politics for their own ends. And, it’s the story of believers who want desperately to find hope and promise in their world, and how all believers are eventually betrayed by those they believe in. Panoramic, steeped in period detail and eccentric questions about God and creation, The Books of Jacob is about people who want to be more than they are, and those who simply pretend they already are.
A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall
When we said 'we need more novels of LGBT+ joy,' THIS IS THE NOVEL WE WANTED. At its heart this is a fun, sweey regency romance. Hall handles Viola's trans identity in the historical context beautifully. Her 'trans-ness' is not the sole focus, but one small aspect of her rich story. I cannot say enough great things about this book. Come find me and I'll squeal about it in person.