Whatcha Reading, Angela Garbes?

Every week we ask an interesting figure what they're digging into. Have ideas who we should reach out to? Let it fly: info@seattlereviewofbooks.com. Want to read more? Check out the archives.

Angela Garbes is a Seattle-based writer. Her book Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy has just been released in paperback (our review, by Bonnie J Rough, can be read here). Angela will be appearing Sunday, June 9, at 3:00pm in the afternoon at the Elliott Bay Book Company. Go see her speak, and bring all your questions about the astounding, wonderful, and strange biology — and sociology — of pregnancy.

What are you reading now?

I'm in early research mode for my next project, a book of essays about bodies, so I'm reading widely, sometimes superficially, getting lost in ideas, pulling on threads, and thinking a lot about craft. Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good — a collection of essays, annotated works, and interviews by adrienne maree brown — has been at the top of my stack for a while because I am enjoying it as much as I am struggling to move through it! brown makes the case that feeling bodily pleasure is essential, as well as essential to fighting oppression, which I am 1000% down with, but her style and structure are different from what I typically read, so it's been weirdly slow-going. I feel like I'll just be (happily) living with this book for a while.

What did you read last?

I'm still thinking about How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell weeks after finishing it. I'd been wanting to shake up my relationship to my devices and social media for a while, and Odell's words and ideas were exactly what I needed to make that change. Instead of simply insisting that the internet/social media is "bad," Odell beautifully argues that our attention — which is exactly what the corporations behind these platforms are trying to monetize — is the most valuable resource we have, and we'd be better off "spending" it in different places: with humans and other animals, in the physical and natural world. Since reading it, among other things, I've put a dozen plants in the ground, spent more time dancing and rolling on the carpet with my daughters, connected with friends IRL, and started leaving my phone at home when I run errands or go on walks. Also I go on more walks.

What are you reading next?

I have large pile of books that I'm looking forward to diving into (including Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez, Gross Anatomy by Mara Altman, and Sontag's Illness as Metaphor) but I already know I'm going to punt all of them so I can devour Ocean Vuong's brand new novel On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. (Shoutout to SPL's Peak Picks, which made it possible for me to pick it up at the library yesterday — no holds, no wait!!)