Culture + Community
June Bibliotherapy with Sivan Bogan
“Abandon Me” by Melissa Febos
I could talk about this book for the rest of my life. This is a deeply personal memoir that explores connection — connecting with yourself, your loved ones, and what these connections mean. Melissa writes about her relationships with her sea caption step father and her birth father. Her birth father only giving her two things: his battle with addiction and his Native American heritage. She writes about her complicated, exhilarating, and heartbreaking long-distance abusive relationship with a married woman. Every drug she’s done, every drink she’s had, everyone she loved during this time in her life was her attempt control — over her body, over her mind, over her life. This book expanded my thinking and makes me want to write her words everywhere I go.
“Abandonment. What did it really mean? That I was left? That I had learned to leave myself. That I would retell the story until I found a different ending. Until I learned to stay.”
“We all carry a small catalog of unsealable wounds. Maybe these breaches of conscience that retain their power to sear are necessary reminders of our own boundaries. We touch them to remember. To prevent further transgression. But no sting compares to this one. It carved something out of me. A space that filled with the shocking light of how much I could hurt the person I least wanted to. It was the first love that made sense of the word tender, which refers not only to a gentle feelings, but to the ache and vulnerability of loving someone. Which is not the same thing as protecting them.”
“Communion: The Female Search for Love” by bell hooks
bell hooks is a critically acclaimed writer, poet, activist, feminist theorist, and cultural critic. She was born as Gloria Jean Watkins in Kentucky. She adopted her pen name of “bell hooks” from her maternal great-grandmother, a woman who inspired her greatly. She has written several books with topics spanning race, class, gender, and teaching. In this particular book, hooks weaves in history, research, experience, and feminism with love — the all-consuming, challenging, devastating loves. The love we want, the love we deserve, the love we lose. She dives deep into what it means to truly love yourself and how hard it is for self-actualized women to find self-actualized men who believe in equality and freedom for women. This was a spectacular, engaging, eye-opening read.
“And when we love, we know love will last. Significantly, we know, having learned through much trial and error, that true love begins with self-love. And that time and time again our search for love brings us back to the place where we started, back to our own heart’s mirror, where we can look upon our female selves with love and be renewed.”