Mini-Reviews: Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom and 300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso

40365093Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Published by The New Press, January 8th 2019.

Thick is a non-fiction book that straddles the line between academic writing and memoir – something I personally really happen to enjoy. Here McMillan Cottom writes on a variety of topics, often with anecdotal evidence centered into her more academic musings.

This book both suffers and improves for me because McMillan Cottom comes from a similar academic tradition as I do. On the one hand it means that I am bound to agree with a lot of her analyses, on the other hand some of her arguments do lose persuasiveness because I have seen them done better elsewhere. I especially thought her use of Bourdieu did not always take into account all of his nuances (which I only know of because I am using his works for my own thesis).

I thought this was a well-written collection of essays that manages to make sociology accessible to a variety of readers and for that I was always going to love it. It did not reinvent the wheel but it makes for an interesting discussion starter.

I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and The New Press in exchange for an honest review.

40660124300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Published by Picador, 2017

I read Sarah Manguso’s Ongoingness a few months ago and absolutely, positively adored it; enough to decide I want to read everything she has ever written. 300 Arguments appealed to me because I really happen to adore Manguso’s style of micro-micro-essay (some of them only being one sentence long). I have to admit that it did not completely work for me – I found some of her thoughts dazzling and thought-provoking but others weak and maybe kind of superficial. It took me way too long to finish this book, given that it is tiny and only 96 pages long (and the pages are half empty). I still really love what Manguso is doing but it might take me a bit longer to pick something of hers up the next time.


5 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews: Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom and 300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso

  1. Ooh, Thick has been on my tbr but I haven’t found a physical copy anywhere maybe I might have to give up and buy it on Kindle or something because I really do wanna read it. 300 Arguments sounds interesting too! Might have to check it out as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These both sound fascinating! I’m also a fan of work that straddles the line between memoir and academic writing. Even if the work winds up not being especially nuanced, as seems to be the case here, I’ve found that just the experience of thinking through what the author’s glossing over or simplifying can be valuable and thought provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

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