Ending the week with some much needed positivity in the form of the wonderful book Body Talk.
It’s time to bare it all about bodies!
We all experience the world in a body, but we don’t usually take the time to explore what it really means to have and live within one. Just as every person has a unique personality, every person has a unique body, and every body tells its own story.
In Body Talk, thirty-seven writers, models, actors, musicians, and artists share essays, lists, comics, and illustrations—about everything from size and shape to scoliosis, from eating disorders to cancer, from sexuality and gender identity to the use of makeup as armor. Together, they contribute a broad variety of perspectives on what it’s like to live in their particular bodies—and how their bodies have helped to inform who they are and how they move through the world.
Come on in, turn the pages, and join the celebration of our diverse, miraculous, beautiful bodies!
Body Talk will be published in the UK on the 1st September 2020.
Isn’t it funny when you end up reading a book at the exact point that you need it? I have never really accepted myself, always wishing that I could change certain features and hoping that one day I would look more like what I was shown an attractive female should look like. It has taken me a long time to accept that such ideals have in fact been sold to me by an industry that needs my investment, I was never going to fit into that mould but I can actually be happy with that realisation.
This is why I think Body Talk is such an important book because it highlights that even if you have a body that is out with that “ideal” you are still valid. I only wish that I had managed to read it when I was a teenager and then maybe I wouldn’t have been so negative towards myself for so long.
I had gone into reading this book thinking that it would be a collection of essays about different body types but in fact it is about so much more than the body as a physical presence, it is about our mental and cultural relationship to our bodies too. This is the type of book that really helps to breakdown the concept that there is a “normal” type of body to have and reinforces that inclusivity should be known as normal.
I also liked that instead of just personal accounts, there were illustrations, and comic strips, there were also interspersed factual sections of body FAQ’s that covered all sorts of topics and I thought were really interesting. The change of styles helped to keep the book accessible and gave me a pause to digest what I had just read or looked at and in some cases allowed me to
There was a good mix between voices that I already knew and ones that I hadn’t come across before, what surprised me about the stories was that I hadn’t expected to feel so hopeful and uplifted after reading them. I think because it is such a serious topic I imagined that I was going to feel that kind of atmosphere whilst reading but actually every contributor managed to get across the importance of their message but still make it an insightful and enjoyable reading experience.
This is the first anthology that I have read from Kelly Jensen but I am already deciding which one I’ll be picking up next.
Kelly Jensen is a former teen librarian who worked in several public libraries before pursuing a full-time career in writing and editing. Her current position is with Book Riot, the largest independent book website in North America, where she focuses on talking about young adult literature in all of its manifestations. Before becoming a fully-fledged adult-like person, she worked in the swanky Texas Legislative Library entering data into a computer while surrounded by important politicians, scooped gelato for hungry college students, and spent hours reading, annotating, and scanning small-town Texas newspapers into a giant searchable database.
Kelly lives in the Chicago area with her husband, her rabbit, and three needy-but-awesome cats. In her free time, she teaches yoga, writes for her personal blog STACKED (stackedbooks.org), drinks a lot of tea, and enjoys disappearing for days reading good books. Her writing has been featured on The Huffington Post, at Rookie Magazine, The Horn Book, BlogHer, and School Library Journal.