New “Size Matters” Book Club Picks Taking Up Space as Its Inaugural Selection

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Akron, Ohio radio talk show host Veronica Cook-Euell launches book club focusing on size, weight and body image and the politics surrounding those issues in American society.

When size diversity expert and talk show host Veronica Cook-Euell decided to found a book club to expand the platform of her “Size Matters, Too” radio show, she knew immediately which book she wanted for the first meeting: the sociological memoir and discussion of fat stigma Taking Up Space by medical sociologist Pattie Thomas, Ph.D.

Kathleen LeBesco, author of "Revolting Bodies: The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity," has called Taking Up Space "a road map through the minefield of the 'war on obesity.'" The book contains a foreword by Paul Campos, author of "The Obesity Myth," which was recently published in paperback as "The Diet Myth."

Thomas, who currently lives in Phoenix, AZ, wrote Taking Up Space (subtitled "How Eating Well & Exercising Regularly Changed My Life") with her husband Carl Wilkerson, M.B.A. Through narrative text, personal essays, photos, poetry, and drawings, she examines the physical, emotional and economic costs of trying to pass for thin in a culture that stigmatizes fat people.

The Size Matters Book Club will debut at 7 p.m. Nov. 8, 2005 at the Goodyear Branch Library in Akron, OH. Dr. Thomas will be on site at 6:30 p.m. to sign Taking Up Space, followed by a 7 p.m. presentation. There is no charge for attending the event.

The Size Matters Book Club will be dedicated to examining society’s obsession with weight, and will emphasize ways to remove the negative stigma placed upon people of size within the workplace and society in general. A particular emphasis will be placed on the Health At Every Size model of wellness, an approach to health and well-being that focuses on healthy behaviors and natural diversity in body size rather than weight.

“The purpose of the book club is to give participants an opportunity to take a deeper look at size and body image, the politics surrounding those issues within society, and how they affect us,” Cook-Euell said in announcing the club. She noted that book club participants will be encouraged to reflect upon their personal experiences and values around body image and size, but that it is not a weight loss group or diet club.

Cook-Euell recommends the book club as beneficial to professionals in health care, human resources, education, and social work fields as well as to people of size. She hopes to eventually expand the club nationally, with meetings in other cities across the country.

The “Size Matters, Too” radio show is recorded and produced weekly at WCRS Radio in Akron, OH. Free recordings of the show are available online at http://www.sizematterstoo.com. For more information about the show or the book club, contact The Euell Consulting Group LLC at 330-668-9778.

Taking Up Space (Pearlsong Press: October 2005, $25) is available through online and offline booksellers, as well as directly from the publisher at http://www.pearlsong.com. A limited number of copies of the book will be available for sale at the Nov. 8 book club event.

For information about Taking Up Space, see http://www.pearlsong.com/takingupspace.htm or contact Pearlsong Press (1-866-4-A-PEARL).

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Peggy Elam, Ph.D.