Tacoma Reads Together 2017 — a community book discussion — encourages the Tacoma community to pick up Roxane Gay’s New York Times bestseller, “Hunger: A Memoir of (my) Body,” and participate in lectures and discussions centered around topics covered in the novel.
In “Hunger,” Gay divulges the inner struggle she has faced throughout her life involving her relationship with her body. Most known for her novel, “Bad Feminist,” Gay covers issues such as fatness, blackness, bisexuality and sexism throughout her bestsellers.
Mayor Strickland of Tacoma selected “Hunger” as the novel of choice for Tacoma Reads 2017.
“I selected ‘Hunger’ for Tacoma Reads 2017 after reading the book over a weekend and finding out that the author was able to come to Tacoma for a book talk and lecture,” Strickland said. “The themes of feeling comfortable in one’s body, surviving physical and emotional abuse and how we view people who may not fit neatly into society’s idea of ‘normal’ are intriguing topics for people of all ages and backgrounds.”
Tacoma Reads Together is an annual event that began in 2001 and is sponsored by the Tacoma Public Library and the City of Tacoma. “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Frankenstein,” “The Maltese Falcon” and “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent” are books that have been chosen in past years of Tacoma Reads Together.
“It was meant to promote literacy and have the community come together to discuss various issues around a book selected by the mayor,” Strickland said.
To get the community involved, there are a few events that will get people talking — and reading. Oct. 18, Mayor Strickland held a book discussion at Wheelock Library to kick off Tacoma Reads Together.
Oct. 25 at Lincoln High School, Gay held a reading of “Hunger” along with a book signing. Organizers knew this would be popular, so those interested had to reserve their seats in advance. According to Mayor Strickland, Gay is in such high demand that her event sold out in just over a week.
The audience buzzed with excitement as Mayor Strickland welcomed Gay onto the stage. The author gave an introduction to her book’s themes and then read a few passages from “Hunger.” Afterward, she opened up the floor to questions from the audience. Topics such as religion, race and Gay’s recent encounters with Michelle Obama and Channing Tatum were discussed.
The final event for Tacoma Reads 2017 is a screening of “Miss Representation” Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. at the The Colored Women’s Club. This 2011 documentary looks at sexism and the limited representation of women in positions of power in media. Associate professor at the UW, Deirdre Raynor, Ph.D., will hold a discussion after the film.
Participate in Tacoma Reads 2017 and pick up a copy of “Hunger: A Memoir of (my) Body” at any Tacoma Public Library.