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Heavy
Heavy: An American Memoir | Kiese Laymon
A Simon & Schuster eBook. Simon & Schuster has a great book for every reader.
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review
rmaclean4
Pickpick

What I think of this book does not matter. This book was not written for me. I found it brutal, beautiful, disturbing and poetic. In its form it reminds me of On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous. It is a letter from a son written to a single mother.

12 likes2 comments
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ephemeralwaltz
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Pickpick

Completely forgot to review this after finishing it last week! This was recommended to me by one of my professors and although I had heard of it I had no idea how vast this memoir was.
It's written as a (love?) letter to his mother, both a perpetrator of violence against Laymon and at the same time his only protector. Laymon explores what violence (domestic, racist, systemic) does to a non-normative, black, obese body in America.

ephemeralwaltz It is devastating and brilliant, an unknown to me and unique voice. I recommend checking out his interviews and other events on YouTube. He is critical and intricate in both his thinking and writing. A real pleasure to have read! 2w
merelybookish I just finished this too! It was really powerful. And feels like required reading, especially for people in the US! 2w
readordierachel Great review 2w
ephemeralwaltz @merelybookish very! I'm glad you liked it. @readordierachel thank you!❤️ i hope you like it if you decide to read it. 2w
52 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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rmaclean4
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Starting this memoir today. I have read some great reviews! #NFNov #nonfictionnovember

Clwojick 1 pt. 5d
19 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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merelybookish
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I've spent most of today in the car. Dropping off and picking up people at school, the orthodontist, and the airport. I'm pooped!
The only upside is all that driving meant I listened to about half of this memoir. It is beautiful, important, and heavy.
#TIL The name Kiese means joy.
#nfnov @Clwojick @rsteve388

Blaire I‘ve heard good things about one. 2w
merelybookish @Blaire It's really good! A bit like Coates's Between the World in Me, a very honest and specific story about being black in the US. 2w
rsteve388 4 pts 2w
60 likes3 comments
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merelybookish
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My #weeklyforecast. Finish a few. Start some others. Mostly trying to read for #nfnov.
@cinfhen @Clwojick @rsteve388

vivastory I hope you like (not sure that's the right word) In Cold Blood 2w
Megabooks Heavy is so good! 2w
Cinfhen Sounds like a sustainable plan!! I‘m trying to read a bit “more” for #NFNovember too 2w
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readordierachel Good plan! 2w
merelybookish @vivastory Everyone sings its praises so I'm going in with high hopes! 🤞 2w
merelybookish @Megabooks Oh my, good and heavy! 2w
merelybookish @Cinfhen We'll see! 🙂 2w
BarbaraBB In Cold Blood is sooooo good! 2w
rsteve388 1 pt 2w
62 likes10 comments
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KryssyB
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Currently listening to - Heavy by Kiese Laymon

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scowler1
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Mehso-so

A great book in many ways and quite an important work I would say, but it did get a little tedious past the halfway point and lost its impact. Brilliant writing though.

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BeaG
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Pickpick

Excellent memoir. Raw and real.

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thebluestocking
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Pickpick

As it says on the tin, this was heavy in subject matter. A memoir about Kiese‘s teen/early adult years, it deals with sexism and racism and health and abuse. I found it to be well written and insightful. The audiobook experience was superb; it‘s read by the author.

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Kdunkelberg
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Heavy is at the top of my stack for the Eudora Welty Writers‘ Symposium. KieseLaymon will be our keynote author, October 10-12, 2019, at Mississippi University for Women!

JamieArc If you have time, the audiobook of Heavy is really well-read. I believe the author does it himself, and he reads it so rhythmically, I couldn‘t imagine myself getting it right while reading. 3mo
Kdunkelberg Good to know. I‘m not a fan of audio books, but when the author reads it‘s another experience. Of course anyone can come hear him live and ask questions at the Symposium. I‘ve had that experience before with him, so I can hear his voice as I read. It does make a difference. (edited) 3mo
4 likes2 comments
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Kdunkelberg
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Heavy is on the top of my stack for the Eudora Welty Writers‘ Symposium. Kiser Laymon will be our keynote author, October 10-12, 2019, at Mississippi University for Women.

Kdunkelberg Other books: Biloxi by Mary Miller, Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson, Brides in the Sky by Cary Holladay, Green Target by Tina Barr, The Bones of Winter Birds by Ann Fisher-Wirth, dark // thing by Ashley M. Jones, Devonte Travels the Sorry Route by T. J. Anderson III, When You Learn the Alphabet by Kendra Allen, Who Killed Buster Sparkle be John W. Bateman, and Gumbo Life by Ken Wells. 3mo
3 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ElectricKatyLand
Pickpick

I listened to this one on audiobook and had to pause, rewind, and take a moment to let the words sink in multiple times each chapter. Laymon is a beautiful writer and this book flayed me. If you want to grapple with identity, race, abuse, family dynamics, truth/lies, trust and just about anything else, let Laymon guide you. Can't recommend highly enough.

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rkeo
Pickpick

Heavy is the perfect title for this memoir. That's the only word I can even think to describe it, for it was heavy in so many different ways. I was torn between feeling like I was supposed to read his story and feeling I didn't have the right to do so.

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Well-ReadNeck
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SamAnne There is a great list of 50 top memoirs from the past 50 years at the NYT book section. Really great list and I added to my TBR list. Heavy is the most recently published book on the NYT list. 4mo
Well-ReadNeck @SamAnne yes, came out last month or so, I believe. Lots of perennial favorites on that list. 4mo
71 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Jas16
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Pickpick

This audiobook took me much longer than usual to get through because I just wasn‘t in the mood for something so raw and intense. I am really glad I stuck with it because it an incredibly powerful memoir and there is no scar that Laymon does not reopen and examine on these pages.

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Wife
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Pickpick

A brilliant man with a brilliant mother...this book isn‘t written in prose, but almost sounds like it when read by the author. I‘m drawn to memoirs and this one is unlike anything I‘ve read before. Addiction, eating disorder, absent father, absent mother, loving grandmother, discipline, lack of discipline, racism, persistence, education, relationships, and honest feelings about all of it. 4/5⭐️s #BFC

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SamAnne
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Pickpick

Wow. One of the most powerful memoirs I‘ve read in a long time. Brutally honest and the writing so unexpected. The audio version is fantastic.

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Billypar
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Pickpick

The title is a good descriptor of the subject matter of this memoir. Laymon captures the complicated relationship with his mother in rich detail via the dialogue. The same love and concern in how she pushes her son to achieve mixes with the pattern of abuse. The author's tone makes the depth of feeling for his mother clear, and it reminded me how easy it is for an outsider to preach cutting ties with an abuser than for the family member to do so.

Christine Loved this book, and your review is so true. 6mo
Suet624 Great review. 6mo
42 likes2 comments
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HardcoverHearts
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I have so many thoughts about this book. So many that I needed to talk it out. See the discussion here: https://youtu.be/ZDP3tV56Kos

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masofia
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Pickpick

This is an incredible account of Kiese Laymon‘s life and the amazing amount of adversity that he‘s experienced. There are so many layers to the interpersonal conflicts, personal insecurities, and societal commentaries. It‘s riveting and difficult to witness.

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MsLeah8417
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Pickpick

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Theaelizabet I‘ve been hearing and reading so much about this. He did a really interesting interview with the NYT Book Review podcast. 6mo
MsLeah8417 @Theaelizabet I was fortunate enough to attend one of his reading/signing events for the release of Heavy in paperback. He was amazing. 6mo
14 likes1 stack add2 comments
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SamAnne
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Downloaded for 5 hours of driving today. This has been on my list for awhile.

shaynarae Enjoy! I absolutely LOVED this book on audio! 6mo
LauraBeth It‘s a good one! 6mo
Megabooks Really good book! 6mo
astro_chica Will have to check out! 6mo
39 likes4 comments
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Redwritinghood
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Pickpick

Pretty good memoir about growing up as a black man in the south, his experiences with sexual and physical abuse as a child, and his struggles with his weight and a gambling addiction. That‘s a lot to deal with! The tone isn‘t preachy or fragile - a very frank discussion of his experiences, especially his relationship with his mother. 3.5⭐️

JamieArc The audiobook of this was excellent. The author reads it like it‘s poetry, really smooth, rhythmic, and beautiful. 7mo
Redwritinghood @JamieArc Unfortunately, my library doesn‘t have the audiobook. I‘ll keep a look out for it, though. 7mo
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BookishMarginalia
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Bailedbailed

Not for me right now. While I‘m interested in the topics this memoir covers —and the reviews have been great— right now I have little patience with the writing style. I‘ll try again in the future, but for now, back to the library this goes. Life‘s too short.

MsLeah8417 😮😮😮😮😮😮😮 7mo
Nidhi_Ashok What was the topic? 7mo
BookishMarginalia @Nidhi_Ashok The author‘s childhood and life as a black man from Mississippi, his body issues, sexuality, addictions, fraught relationship with his mom... 7mo
shutterbug_mama I listened to this on audio and it was sooooo hard to finish! I wanted to bail so many times. I only kept on because I have bailed on so many lately. I will say the best part of the book was about the last hour (ish) on the audio. 7mo
107 likes4 comments
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suzisteffen
Pickpick

Read it all on the plane. Some powerful writing and truth in here. Loses narrative and emotional power after the author leaves Mississippi (but also, Mississippi Goddamn for real). 4⭐️

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suzisteffen
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Starting this in the exit row of my flight home (in the middle of spring break, plane still wildly full, IDEK). BRING IT ON, KIESE LAYMON! #memoir #ownvoices

suzisteffen I have so much more to say about it, including about 25 quotes to share! Just didn‘t have time/emotional energy to share all of it yet. 8mo
14 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Latrelwhite
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In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to time in New York as a college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. It grabs you from the beginning.👍🏽✨

5 likes3 stack adds
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lucyhayes
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Pickpick

Heavy by Kiese Laymon left me with my jaw on the subway floor more times than I can count— it‘s the kind of book I felt I had to mouth the words to in order to keep myself grounded as all of the images in the book piled inside of me. This book masters the art of accumulation; accumulating shared language, accumulating memory, accumulating weight. May each reader learn from the way Laymon self reflects and shares all of that “raw” with the world.

suzisteffen About to start this. Thank you for this superb review! 8mo
Chelleo Welcome to Litsy! Hope these #Litsytips by @RaimeyGallant http://bit.ly/litsytips and #LitsyHowTo videos: goo.gl/UrCpoU are helpful. There‘s so many fun things to do: book exchanges, buddy reads, photo challenges and more! #LitsyWelcomeWagon 8mo
See All 6 Comments
RaimeyGallant Welcome! 8mo
ProfReader Welcome to Litsy!!! ❤️💚🧡♥️💜 8mo
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🤗 8mo
6 likes6 comments
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britt_brooke
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February was a great month! My 5⭐️ reads were especially phenomenal. #februarywrapup

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Heavy
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Johnny Got His Gun
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Trauma Cleaner
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Dispatches
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Enter Night
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Steve Jobs
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I Think You‘re Wrong (But I‘m Listening)
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Witch Elm
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Barbarian Days
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Not Her Daughter
⭐️⭐️⭐️ What If It‘s Us?
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Where the Crawdads Sing
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Unicorns vs Goblins
⭐️⭐️ The Library Book

CouronneDhiver Wow - that‘s a really good month! 👍🏽 9mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Awesome! 📖💖 9mo
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Owlizabeth
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Some holds finally came in, I‘ve been waiting impatiently for these two!!

KatieDid927 Both are so gooood! 9mo
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ErinC
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Way early for an appointment so just chilling in my car listening to this. I‘m about 1/3 done, and it is phenomenal. Laymon‘s narration is outstanding; it feels as if he‘s just telling a story. So natural. I‘m also really loving his writing style. It‘s incredibly real, and poetic almost.

61 likes1 stack add
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intothehallofbooks
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Pickpick

An excellent, searingly honest memoir.

Truth: Laymon‘s frank honesty made me so uncomfortable. I had to do some work and sit with hard truths that I hadn‘t necessarily been exposed to before. Some new perspectives. But it is not Laymon‘s job to educate me; this book was written to his mother. Anything I learned was extra.

It is so damn painful for me to hear that things I have participated in, enjoyed, or benefited from have harmed people. 👇🏻

intothehallofbooks I started this print-only but added the audio early on. Kiese Laymon narrates himself and it was a much richer, much more emotional experience hearing him read his own words. If you have access, consider listening to this one! 9mo
Cinfhen Beautiful review 9mo
CouronneDhiver Wow. 👌🏽 9mo
50 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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KatieDid927
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Pickpick

Aptly titled and essential.

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JennyM
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#TimBitTunes #TheWeight

I‘ve seen this A LOT in my feed recently.

Cinfhen Same!!! On my TBR 9mo
Tanisha_A On my TBR too! 9mo
Kalalalatja It was really good! 9mo
71 likes1 stack add3 comments
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lisakoby
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Pickpick

The best book I‘ve read in years, unflinching and gut wrenching. It covers sexual abuse, hope, the terror of love walking in the world, the violence that we transfer to those we love the most and sheer agony of surviving and trying to thrive in a white world that is bent on your destruction. You can pick a word or theme and follow that thread, reread and do it again and again.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

#audiobooklove #memoir #mustread #readharder2019

32 likes2 stack adds
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BooksForEmpathy
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Pickpick

HEAVY will blow you away. HEAVY will haunt you and and break your heart and you will heed HEAVY because it‘s a story of a life that deserves witness. Kiese Laymon is open-wide for us. It‘s a magnificent feat to be able to write like this, and the weight of living in his body, as a black man, is felt acutely as he cycles through the moments where his body is betrayed, abused, loved, confused, frightened, and starved. All my respect for this writer.

Megabooks Preach!!!! Amazing book. And he followed me back on Twitter, which I totally Fangirled out about 😁 (edited) 9mo
80 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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irre
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Pickpick

4 ⭐️

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britt_brooke
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This often poetic memoir reads as an open letter to Laymon‘s mother. She always taught him not to excuse mediocrity. That as a black man he had to try harder, work harder. That he had to articulate his words. Yet, in her strict teachings, she overstepped boundaries. This is about the things that make and break us. Laymon excelled and succeeded, but in the process, he punished his body as it was one thing he could control.

BarbaraBB Wonderful review. 10mo
Reggie Wow, great review!! 9mo
britt_brooke @BarbaraBB Thanks so much! 💚 9mo
britt_brooke @Reggie Thank you! 💚 9mo
113 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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Twocougs
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Pickpick

Wow. I feel like I just read a person‘s soul. Beautiful, brutally honest, I am better for having read Kiese Layman‘s story. I want to thank him but it doesn‘t seem enough.

46 likes4 stack adds
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RealLifeReading
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#audiobaking walnut bread today. The boys are still recovering from cough/cold/fever and it‘s a rainy weekend so we stayed at home today.

SilversReviews That looks delicious!! 10mo
LapReader I wish I could have all of your recipes. 10mo
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erzascarletbookgasm Hope your boys get well soon. Happy Chinese New Year! Baked any specialty cookies for the festival? 9mo
RealLifeReading @LapReader a lot of them, like this one, are from King Arthur Flour! https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/walnut-bread-recipe 9mo
RealLifeReading @erzascarletbookgasm thank you! They‘re getting better! I did make those pork floss and sesame cookies but that‘s it. 9mo
SilversReviews @RealLifeReading I do believe King Arthur flour makes things turn out better. Glad to hear the boys are getting better. 9mo
readordierachel That looks amazing! 9mo
113 likes9 comments
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RealLifeReading
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#audiobaking yesterday, making sure I listen to this author-narrated book with headphones on as the 7yo was resting at home (also the book has material not suitable for young ears). I made pork floss cookies - it‘s light and buttery with sesame seeds and pork floss (also known as pork sung, a shredded, salty-sweet dried pork thing that‘s so good in rice porridge). Chinese New Year is coming up next week!

KarenUK Those look amazing! 10mo
OrangeMooseReads Those look really good and I don‘t like pork. 10mo
batsy Oh my god! Pork floss cookies! That sounds delish. 10mo
107 likes1 stack add4 comments
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whatsthEStorey
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January wrap-up! Heavy was my favorite. 5 nonfiction.

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego You had an excellent reading month! 📚💕 10mo
whatsthEStorey @StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego thanks! There were some great books this month! 10mo
36 likes2 comments
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mdhughes72
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Pickpick

This is making the rounds in my Litsy circle, & for good reason! It‘s the perfect companion to Educated. So much heartache. Author narration sounds like beautiful, tragic free verse poetry. The device of making the memoir a conversation between the author & his single mom really worked for me...until it didn‘t. Not entirely about his struggles with size, but that becomes a frame for all the other struggles he‘s faced along the way. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Megabooks Great review of a great book! 10mo
mdhughes72 @Megabooks Thanks! So you‘ve read it too? 10mo
Megabooks @mdhughes72 Yes! I think it was one of the best books of 2018. Certainly better than the memoir Educated that got much more press. I did both partial audiobook/partial print. Heavy was better with both. Consider reading his backlist. It‘s on hoopla. 10mo
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Tanisha_A
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Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction Announced https://themillions.com/2019/01/andrew-carnegie-medals-for-excellence-in-fiction...

AmyG I loved The Great Believers. Well deserved. 10mo
Tanisha_A @AmyG Ah! Can't wait to read it. I know I will sometime this year. 😉 10mo
readordierachel Both of these are high on my tbr! 10mo
minkyb The Great Believers is very well done. 10mo
Tanisha_A @readordierachel @minkyb Think I'd have to bump it up too. 📚 10mo
62 likes5 comments
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Christine
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Pickpick

Finished my second book of #24in48. :) Very glad I listened to the advice of so many of you and tried this one. Laymon is a fantastic writer, and this was super moving. (Audio version highly recommended.) ❤️

shaynarae 🙌🏼 10mo
Christine @shaynarae So good!! 10mo
64 likes2 comments
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UrsulaMonarch
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Pickpick

Heartbreaking, beautiful, powerful, and as @LauraBeth said, unsettling. A magnificent book.

LauraBeth I‘m so glad that you liked it! @UrsulaMonarch 10mo
52 likes1 comment
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Megabooks
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Pickpick

5⭐️ is not enough for this book. It scooped every raw thing out of me just reading it. It is almost too real, almost too raw. And from that, he draws some of the most beautiful sentences, paragraphs, and pages I‘ve ever read.

It is the third book I will prosthelytize about. Read this. The #audiobook is beyond excellent.

#nonfiction2019 #somethingpersonal

ohyeahthatgirl Loved this one! If you haven't read his backlist, it's also great. 10mo
Megabooks @ohyeahthatgirl I need to for sure! Thanks. 10mo
REPollock Heard him read from this, it‘s so powerful. 10mo
Megabooks @REPollock It is. I‘m so glad he read the audiobook himself. I‘d love to hear him speak in person. 10mo
128 likes6 stack adds4 comments
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ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

All the things that can weigh a person down - secrets, shame, racism, addiction - Kiese Laymon writes about his life up to this point. I heard him on a panel at AWP and knew he'd put it all in this book.
I had an eARC from the publisher but took my time reading it, due to the weight of the content. It's been out since October.

Owlizabeth I am not so patiently waiting on my library hold! 10mo
ReadingEnvy @Owlizabeth I've heard the audio is good and I kind of wish i'd listened to it! 10mo
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Megabooks
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This book. Damn. It‘s going to be my first 5⭐️ of the year. So good I bought it halfway through.

Cinfhen Wow 10mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen Yeah. I posted another quote with my review. This was a damn good book. Read it if you haven‘t. 10mo
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candority
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Pickpick

Heavy is a difficult book to read, as the author, Kiese Laymon, lays himself bare. He writes eloquently and honestly about growing up, about his relationships, about abuse and sexual violence, about weight and eating disorders, about money, poverty, and gambling, about addiction, and much more, and effortlessly shifts his personal experiences into a social critique of America and the way black children, black adults, and black bodies are treated.

Cinfhen This does sound heartbreaking ~ how does it compare or does it to Roxane Gay‘s memoir Hunger?!?! Because I feel like she touched on a lot of those same topics 10mo
CouronneDhiver I love that people are finally getting brave enough to crush the taboos. I only wish that the people who are angered by the issues did something impactful about it. 10mo
UnabridgedPod I loved this book. So powerful. 10mo
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candority @Cinfhen I haven‘t read Hunger yet, so I can‘t comment on that. Roxane Gay endorsed Heavy though! 10mo
candority @CouronneDhiver I totally agree. There are some issues that I definitely wish I could do more about, but just don‘t know how to get involved. Something to strive towards in the future though! (edited) 10mo
candority @Unabridged Yes, it was! 10mo
Kalalalatja @Cinfhen imo, Hunger felt a bit more distanced and controlled, where this was more emotional for me. I loved both books, and they definitely cover similar topics, but both are still worth a read 10mo
Cinfhen Thanks for both of your opinions @candority @Kalalalatja I will definitely be picking this up but first I NEED a light read...my last few books have all been “heavy” 10mo
114 likes6 stack adds8 comments