Fat Books & Thin Women

Half-Assed Reading Journal

I’ve always regarded those “what’s in my mailbox” posts as the book blogger’s equivalent to stories about dreams: fun to talk about, no fun to listen to. It is always safe to assume that no one wants to hear about your dreams, and that no one cares what you got in the mail – unless you are going to share the wealth.

That said, I got a package! A package that I am not sharing, but that I wanted to tell you about because (a) I was really charmed by the way my parents used Fiber One bars in lieu of packing peanuts, and (b) I have been waiting on this for weeks, increasingly anxious, because the package was full of books for my research project. (The funny story here being that the package arrived in Tirana a week after my parents mailed it, but that I didn’t get the package slips for another ten days. Oh, Albania!)

Anyway, lots of reading and preparation for the upcoming Fulbright conference here. My personal reading has been a lot of Cloud Atlas, which I just finished and – not to spoil my review or anything – loved. This is the third novel I’ve read by David Mitchell and the third I’ve loved, so fair to say I’ll be reading more by him soon.

Okay, I’m almost done. But Kit wrote this very fun (and somehow necessary, I think) open letter to Bridget Jones. Because, you know, she’s not fat and the movie strips away some of the book’s pointed humor about Bridget’s weight loss attempts, as when she hits her goal weight and everyone very gently tells her that she looks terrible. Which brings me to this other point, and I guess what I should recognize is the natural result of unwisely naming your blog “Fat Books & Thin Women,” without an eye to googlers the world over: the eighth most popular search term for this blog is “Kat Dennings fat.” (Leading, disappointingly I’m sure, only to my book vs. movie thing on Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.)

“Kat Dennings fat”? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

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Must read ‘Cloud Atlas’ I gave my copy away and never replaced it, really loved ‘Black Swan Green’ and have ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet’ sitting on the pile too.

Comment by Claire 'Word by Word'

I picked Black Swan Green up at random years ago and, like you, loved it. But for some reason I didn’t read any more Mitchell until a few months ago – de Zoet, which was great, and Cloud Atlas, which I’d bought for my kindle nearly three years ago. I’ve liked all three so much that I’m (finally) realizing I shouldn’t let any more of Mitchell’s books sit on my to-read pile for long.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

Wasn’t Cloud Atlas fantastic? I still have yet to read more by him. I have de Zoet sitting on my shelves, and Black Swan on itunes… soon. Too many fantastic things to read out there.

Also: Kit’s post on BJD was really great. I remember reading the book amused and sad that she thought she was fat. The movie completely missed the point and instead decided to perpetuate unhealthy body image issues.

Comment by zeteticat

Right, exactly. There were moments in the book that captured so well just how ridiculous and sad it was that Bridget focused on her weight above all else. Fielding managed to walk this fine line between pointing that out, and being funny about it – like when Bridget would eat hardly anything but smoke two packs of cigarettes, then congratulate herself for the resulting weight loss. The movie just skipped all of that…and to read that Zellwegger plans to wear a fat suit for the third movie is just unbelievable to me. A fat suit to look like a size 8?

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

Kat Dennings fat?? What now?

Also, I usually feel the same way about the What’s In My Mailbox and dreams (especially dreams) and I tend to skip over those posts. But since you acknowledged that, I read yours. So, very sneaky. That is a massive and intimidating stack of books there. Good luck with the conference!

Comment by Alley Rivers (@alleyecarina)

Ha, sorry for tricking you into that. I told myself it was ok to mention a package…but that I can never do it again. And yeah, that pile of books should keep me busy for the next four months!

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

In tribute to your dream comparison, I will only respond to your actual book statement in this post, haha. I adore David Mitchell. I didn’t care as much for his last one, but still look forward to the next! There are rumors that some of the characters from Cloud Atlas are hidden in de Zoet, so watch for that!

Comment by jennycolvin

I couldn’t resist googling that, and landed on a page that mentioned how Mitchell’s characters reappear throughout his novels. So cool…I don’t usually like it when authors bring their characters back in later novels, but the idea of characters reappearing in such minor ways that you have to hunt them down is very appealing to me. I’ll have to reread de Zoet soon and look for that! I only own Black Swan Green in paperback, but I think I’ll have to buy even his books I have for kindle in paper, so I can better conduct this “research.”

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

I don’t think you could have put it any better when you said “I’ve always regarded those “what’s in my mailbox” posts as the book blogger’s equivalent to stories about dreams: fun to talk about, no fun to listen to. It is always safe to assume that no one wants to hear about your dreams, and that no one cares what you got in the mail – unless you are going to share the wealth.” Those really are boring and I always skip over them.

With that being said, I do like to see posts about book hauls or new books or library books checked out or in this case, packages of books sent by your parents. That looks like an awesome care package.

Comment by Brenna (@LitMusings)

Yeah, there are times when I think people do it well. You know, I don’t want a list of ARCs someone got in the mail, but I do like hearing sometimes about how they found their books, especially when they mention that in their reviews as well. I like being reminded of how we sometimes stumble over books we’ve never heard of, and end up loving them.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

OK, I post a Friday Finds post every week and I get some comments- and no it’s not my busiest post but so what. I enjoy reading what other people get, even if there’s nothing “in it” for me. and it seems like at least 2 or 3 people do, too!

Comment by Marie (@bostonbibliophl)

Of course, I think it’s important to write the posts that you enjoy writing. That’s why I do a longreads post every few weeks, even though most of them…I’m the only one with a real interest in them. And I think there’s a pretty significant difference between those “mailbox monday” posts, which really look to me like just a list of ARCs, and posts that focus on the ways someone came across different books. I kind of enjoy being reminded of all the american library system has to offer me when I get back home. There was one blogger, I think Gillian from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman, who used to do these reviews that were about books she found for 50 cents at library sales and used bookstores. Those to me were always so cool, because they served as a reminder that there are a lot of ways to find books, and that it’s possible to buy books even if you’re on a budget and can’t afford them at $15 a pop.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

I think that instead of sharing what we got in our mailbox, we should share any books we discover: “I saw this, would you like it? Have you read it?”. I tend to do that because when I saw a friend of mine doing it, I was very thankful. It’s like little adventures into bookshops and libraries and discoveries. professor Livingston… with books!

Comment by Elena

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