Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Thick: And Other Essays” as Want to Read:
Thick: And Other Essays
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Thick: And Other Essays

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  149 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Smart, humorous, and strikingly original thoughts on race, beauty, money, and more—by one of today's most intrepid public intellectuals

Tressie McMillan Cottom, the writer, professor, and acclaimed author of Lower Ed, now brilliantly shifts gears from running regression analyses on college data to unleashing another identity: a purveyor of wit, wisdom—and of course Black Tw
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by New Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Thick, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Thick

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tressie McMillan Cottom’s essay collection Thick: And Other Essays, is thick in every sense of the word. This book is thick with wit and depth and intelligence as McMillan Cottom tackles black womanhood, contextualizing whiteness, beauty in a capitalist society, class mobility and much more. She engages, in fascinating ways, with the forces that bear down upon her from her subject position in prose that effortlessly blends the personal with the theoretical. She articulates a black woman’s work a ...more
Valerity (Val)
DNF at 26% I tried repeatedly to get into this book, but its just not my usual kind of book, although a good one, not for me. I have a sleep disorder that knocks me right out if I don't find something gripping, and even on some that I do, so I have to save my reading time for books that I find compelling. Thanks for understanding!
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Review to follow
Anna | never_withouta_book
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is one you will want to read. Highly recommended you do.
Stacie C
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, e-book-arcs

Thick. If that isn’t an apt title for this collection than I don’t know what is, because this is a thick book. Not thick in the amount of pages, but absolutely full of relevant and necessary information. It isn’t curing cancer or solving climate change. But it is giving a voice and analytical eye to the way we treat, judge, measure, love, hate and depict Black women.

I knew after the very first essay in this collection that I was willing to analyze and absorb everything that Cottom had to write
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
THICK is going to be one of the first best essay collections of 2019. Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom is an academic, sociology and prominent writer. I learned a lot from these essays, ranging from her experience as a Black woman academic, personal essays, opinion writing & gatekeepers, views on "beauty", R. Kelly and the need for more black women writers at prestigious publications.

These essays are wide-ranging and often made me wish I was reading them in a class or book club discussion - espe
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This collection of essays is quite simply unadulterated brilliance, but I have come to expect no less from Tressie McMillan Cottom! While reading these, I managed to both laugh and cry as this Black woman academic delved into experiences that bore similarities to my own as a woman of colour in Canada. I look forward to engaging with more of this author's writing in the future.
"In The Name of Beauty" is the second essay in Tressie McMillan Cottom's book Thick, and it is a tour de force. The piece lays bare the white supremacist roots of the very idea of beauty and who can qualify as beautiful, and strips away the artifice from a thousand bloggers who would insist everyone is beautiful (at least on the inside). It's moving and challenging and discomfiting (for me at least) and I'll be thinking about it for a long time. The story of Dr. McMillan Cottom delivering a daug ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, ebook-owned
I really love the content of this personal essay collection, and would definitely recommend it as a book to check for those who love ELOQUENT RAGE by Brittney Cooper or THIS WILL BE MY UNDOING by Morgan Jenkins. That said, something about the authorial voice didn't quite turn all the way over for me. I'm not sure if it was my mood or just my tastes generally, as the writing is objectively quite nice. I just didn't fully connect with it the way I have with writers like Cooper or Roxane Gay.

Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review from the publisher, via NetGalley. All views are my own.

I have a thing for memoirs and essay collections written by black women. And while this was metaphorically one of the thickest (or most dense) memoirs I've read, I adored it. A lot of things went over my head or didn't have as much of an impact because 1) I'm not a black woman, so I have never experienced what Cottom writes about; 2) Her voice, to me, was sometimes complicated.

But non
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I'm a graduate student at the university where Tressie McMillan Cottom teaches and I'm forever sad that I couldn't squeeze in a class with her. This book is a treasure. It's written in an amazing voice that captures the depth and pain of her experiences with honesty and an incredible amount of wit. That wit makes it funny without the nagging sense that the author is trying to be funny. I highlighted too many amazing passages (both for their insight and humor), but died in giggles over this one i ...more
Susie Dumond
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This short essay collection gives you a lot to chew on. Dr. McMillan Cottom approaches familiar topics from an incredibly unique and astute perspective. I love the way she sets up each topic and argument. Silly think pieces, Miley Cyrus, and dismissive doctors become so much more under McMillan Cottom's gaze. What a remarkable voice! This collection is not to be missed.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
New release! Out today!

Thank you to New Press for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is such a great essay collection to start off the new year. I'm a longtime fan of Tressie McMillan Cottom's work, particularly on higher education, and this collection does not disappoint. There is a very timely essay in here about R. Kelly, uncannily timed for the release of the three-day documentary about R. Kelly's survivors on Lifetime TV. Her remarks about the violence perpetrated on Bl
Laura Gadzik
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a free e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review- all opinions are my own. The first thing I can say about this is that partway through reading I went online and purchased a hard copy of this book for my shelf. This is a collection of essays that start from Tressie McMillan Cottom’s specific experiences as a black female individual navigating the systemic and impossible constraints put on black women in our country, and also zooms way out to talk about th ...more
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fans of Roxanne Gay NEED to read this book. She offers perspective with sharp wit and a bit humor that makes you almost feel like you're talking to her.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Truly outstanding collection of essays.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, nonfiction
An important book for the upcoming year, and I'm grateful to have early access to Tressie McMillan Cottom's writing here. The book is insightful (especially for a young, white woman privileged in several respects like myself) but communicated with accessible language that may appeal to audiences beyond just those who can boast a college - or hell, any - educational degree.
Conveying the biting, yet necessary, linkage between the "political, social, and the personal" with wit and raw honesty is o
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
This review also appreaed at ReadingTheThing

So, how do I describe this book, to have you you all get it and read it? Probably it’s not enough if I say this might be the book that I’ll look back on in the end of 2019, and that it will have had the biggest impact on me. Maybe if I tell you that I rarely (virtually) underline sentences in books, and here I kept highlighting things.

‘Thick – and other essays’ consists of 8 essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom. I needed time between reading them because
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I've admired Tressie McMillan Cottom both from afar and up close (the latter because I was lucky enough to attend the Digital Pedagogy Lab the year she gave one of the keynote addresses). I subscribe to and read her newsletter (you should, too!). I follow her (and am honored to be followed back by her) on Twitter. This is all to say I thought I knew how smart and funny and incisive and important she was before I picked up this collection. I knew sh*t. Thick is fantastic, a collection that reads ...more
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There's so much I love about this book. The author takes every day occurrences, provides current and historical context, and does so in an entertaining and informative way. Until Michelle Alexander began writing an Op-Ed column for the NY Times, why wasn't a black woman among the NYT Op-Ed writers offering a weekly take on a topic of their choice? What does it mean for all of us that David Brooks used his column to comment on how he believed a lunch companion with a high school degree felt uncom ...more
Kate Powers
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Smart, original & unflinching cultural analysis

First off: I have zero qualifications for evaluating Prof. McMillan’s work— she’s a scholar, author and sociologist with a decade-long track record of exceptional work. I’m merely a reader and student of the human condition in all its permutations. But I literally could not wait for Thick’s physical publication date — every review made me that much more impatient to read it for myself — and I’m so glad I finally grabbed a Kindle edition. These
Christian Ferrato
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This essay collection will be one of the first stand outs in 2019. Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom tackles issues such as op-ed writers and their pieces of work, the view of African American women as incompetent and how it leads to poor healthcare, and understanding African American beauty as it fits into America's white standards. This essay collection blew me away and I truly enjoyed reading it. Every essay taught me something new and I would absolutely recommend picking it up.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s just perfect.

Six essays that made me deeply examine and then rethink everything I thought about race, class, and gender. And Cottom somehow manages to do all that while being very very funny.

Bonus points for reminding me why I dropped out of grad school. She’s an academic, yes, but also a glorious challenge to the academic culture and I love that she’s winning.

Read this now. And then re-read it in a few months. Buy copies for friends. All the things.
Pamela Sargent
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This collection of essays by Cottom are a combination of her life experiences together with social commentary on race, feminism and today’s culture.
Having never read her work, I was interested by her use of the personal essay combined with academic research...and humour! An entertaining and insightful read.
Note : I obtained a copy of this book from Netgalley for review.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An important addition to the contemporary discussion about race, gender, and class (to quote Angela Davis). TMC's blending of accessible language and complex research is right on and invites scholars (as well as readers) to reconsider the limits we've put not only on possibilities for race, class, and gender, but also for categories like "scholar" "genre."
David Mccracken
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great set of essays, some touching on familiar topics, if you follow @tressiemcphd on Twitter or read her blog/newsletter. Personal and political, but always well informed by her work as a sociologist on gender, race, and privilege/status and how they intersect in a capitalist society.
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't read much non-fiction but I really enjoyed thus collection of essays. The author is a sociology professor and she covers a lot of ground here: race, gender, poverty are all talked about from both personal and scholarly points of view. I particularly liked her essay on David Brooks.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks Netgalley for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really liked these essays. I haven’t read much written about the experience of being a black woman as well as the sociological aspects. This was really though provoking and a good read.
Danielle Robinson
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Engrossing, thought provoking and timely. I couldn't put this down.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I needed a book like.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Tressie McMillan Cottom is an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from Emory University in Atlanta, GA with a case study of the political economy of for-profit colleges in the era of financialized U.S. higher education.

Tressie’s current research examines