Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Writer Roxane Gay’s memoir, which came out in 2017, is both devastating and enlightening. In it, Gay writes about the experience of having a body that she calls “wildly undisciplined.” After surviving a violent sexual assault at age 12, she turns to food to build a fortress around her body to keep her safe. She discusses vividly and emotionally the way her body and those that have bodies like hers feels and is perceived to the world. She writes, “This is a memoir of (my) body because, more often than not, stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not.” I loved Gay’s language and voice, especially because she’s writing about something deeply personal. — Julie Travers

Episode 13: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo with Janina Transcription

This is the Swampscott Library’s Librarians by the Sea podcast, where we share our love of a good book with you. I’m your host, Julie Travers.

Julie: Hi everyone, and welcome to the Librarians by the Sea podcast. Today we have an interview with Janina, who we’ve had on the podcast before. She’s a reference librarian here at the Swampscott Library, and she’s the new leader of an anti-racism book group that we’ve started at the library. Their first meeting was last week, and they read White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo.

So first, I just kind of wanted to ask you about why you were inspired to start an anti-racism book group?

Read more Episode 13: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo with Janina Transcription

28 Summers: Elin Hildebrand

Like all of Elin Hilderbrand’s novels, once I picked up her most recent beach read, I couldn’t put it down again. The main character, Mallory Blessing inherits a cottage on Nantucket and spends her first summer there in 1993, which is the same year that she meets Jake McCloud. Jake is in a long term relationship with his childhood sweetheart, Ursula, who is cold but extremely professionally accomplished. Instead of pursuing a full-time relationship, Jake and Mallory agree to meet every year on Labor Day, which at the end of the novel in the year 2020 is 28 summers. Coinciding with this year’s presidential election, this novel expands smartly on some of the pressing political and social issues of today. I found it the perfect escape to the island of Nantucket, while still being grounded in today’s landscape. — Julie Travers

The Summer Demands: Deborah Shapiro

This moody novel is slightly more literary and elevated than your typical summer beach read, but it was an escape nonetheless. Right before Emily turns 40, her and her husband David inherit a summer camp owned by her aunt and uncle. They move from Chicago to Massachusetts to renovate and operate the camp for adults, although at the start of the novel, this isn’t working out for them. Emily discovers Stella, a 20-something woman, living in one of the bunks of the camp, and they develop a close relationship. Emily wavers between being a mother, lover, or friend to Stella and this relationship plays out throughout the story. — Julie Travers

Murder at the Mena House: Erica Ruth Neubauer

Mix the pyramids of ancient Egypt, a world class hotel, and plenty of cocktails and you will get this adventurous tale of murder and deception.  Jane Wunderly, a young World War I widow, is on her first trip abroad with her Aunt Millie who is determined to find her a second husband.  Having no interest in another husband, Jane is equally determined to enjoy everything Egypt has to offer; pyramids, bazaars, exotic flavors and ancient artifacts.  Until, that is, another guest is found murdered and Jane is the main suspect… – Susan Conner