Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across by Mary Lambert – A Review

Shame Is an Ocean I swim across mary lambert

Shame is an Ocean I Swim Across by Mary Lambert
Poetry | LGBTQ | Mental Health
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Released October 23rd, 2018
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars
Read via Audiobook

“I want to watch the fat lady win
I want her to stop apologizing for being fat
I wish I could say: Hey, perfect angel cutie pie:
You don’t owe anyone shit.
Stop apologizing for who you are.
Go eat a fucking sandwich and throw your scale away
Work out if you want to, lay on the couch if you want to
No one else lives in your body
You are enough, as you are, today”

I chose to listen to the audiobook for Mary Lambert’s Shame is an Ocean I Swim Across almost on a whim, and it touched me in a way that I was not expecting. Her words are expressive and passionate. I found myself identifying with Lambert’s words on such a deep level that I’m currently listening to it again. What started out as a collection of poetry I’d never heard of has become one of my favorite books and what I expect will become one of my top reads of 2020.

Mary Lambert
Mary Lambert

Mary Lambert is a poet, spoken word artist, musician, song-writer, and LGBTQ activist. Her work deals with difficult topics, such as rape, sexual abuse, trauma, bipolar disorder, and body image.

Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across made me feel a wide spectrum of emotions. Some of the poems brought tears to my eyes, and others made me feel proud of the struggles I’ve been through to become who I am. I identified personally with so many of these poems, particularly those about mental health (including bipolar disorder) and body image.

The audiobook version of Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across was gorgeously produced and I can’t recommend it enough. Lambert’s emotional and strong voice was placed over simple piano pieces, which served to heighten the emotional impact.

Mary Lambert’s collection is powerful, emotional, and intensely personal. It’s one that I will keep near me for years to come, especially when I’m feeling lonely in my experiences. There are a number of triggering topics in Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across, so be sure to check out the book’s Goodreads page if you’re worried about that before diving in.

Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across was so beautiful and it’s hard to describe just how much I loved it. I’m looking forward to everything Lambert does, what with my new massive crush on her. I’ll leave you with this video of her song “Secrets,” because, again, Mary Lambert is amazing. I just don’t understand how it took me so long to learn of her!

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Resources for Free Reading Material During Quarantine [Updated: 3/31]


Obviously, a global pandemic has always been a threat, but COVID-19 seems to have just caught everyone off-guard with how terrible it’s been. It’s scary, and people are struggling with being laid-off or losing their jobs, being quarantined, having to homeschool their children and deal with so many other stressful situations right now.

One of the ways I’ve been dealing with anxiety is through binge-reading. I wanted to put together this list of resources to help you guys find some books and magazines to get your mind off of things.

If you know of any other apps or websites that I haven’t listed, please let me know in the comments or email me at so that I can add them to this list.

Your Local Library

While a lot of libraries are closing their doors to their physical collections, many are still offering all of their digital resources. Libraries differ between branches but check the website of your local library to see what resources they provide. My area’s library offers free online access to tons of magazines, the New York Times, and language learning programs.

Overdrive/Libby & Hoopla

If you have a library card, you have access to a ton of ebooks, audiobooks, comic books, movies, music, and tv shows through these two apps. They’re absolutely free and you just log in using your library card information.

Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly has temporarily opened up their digital issues to everyone. Out of all these resources, this is probably the one that I’ll be taking the advantage of the most since I’ve always wanted a subscription to Publishers Weekly but can’t afford it on my budget.


Scribd is letting people sign up and have access to all of their ebooks, audiobooks, sheet music, and more for 30 days. Scribd is a great resource that I personally use every single day, so if you’re not already a subscriber, definitely take them up on this! is a publishing house that offers tons of short stories on their website. Here’s a link to all of their available fiction. is one of my favorite publishers and they put out some amazing science fiction stories.


If you want stuff to listen to, podcasts are a great free resource. There are a ton of different ways to find and subscribe to them, such as through Spotify, the Apple Podcast App (or any podcast app for that matter), iTunes, and Scribd are examples. There are tons of podcasts for every taste. My personal favorite right now is Working Classless.

Project Gutenberg, Open Library, & Internet Archive

These are three great resources for reading classic literature or any books that are in the public domain, and they’re all entirely free.


Amazon’s Audible is offering some content for free. All of the content is hand-picked for children ages 0-18.

Neil Gaiman

One of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, is offering a ton of free content on his website, such as short stories, essays, audio content, and more.


This YouTube channel features a ton of videos of celebrities reading children’s stories. It’s the perfect way to entertain your kids while school is closed.

Goodnight with Dolly

Starting April 2nd, Dolly Parton is going to be reading bedtime stories via YouTube as part of her Imagination Library.


For book news and reviews, you’ve probably heard of Kirkus. They have made of all their digital issues free.

I’m sure that I’m missing a lot of resources, but I wanted to get this list out as quickly as I could. As I come across new resources or hear about them from you guys, I’ll update this post.

Again, I hope all of you are taking care of yourselves. Hang in there. We’re all in this together.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

YouTube | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

My Love/Hate Relationship with Audiobooks


Until recently, I only read physical books or ebooks. The few times I’d attempted to listen to audiobooks were disastrous, and within a few chapters I’d give up on it entirely.

It baffled me a bit – after all, I love podcasts and audiobooks aren’t that different. For whatever reason, however, I found that I was unable to focus on the story I was listening to and I would quickly get bored and go pick up a physical book.

In 2018, I made a goal of getting through at least one full audiobook. It’s definitely a very modest goal, but one that was difficult for me. To give myself a higher chance of success, I chose to listen to one of my favorite middle-grade books, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, narrated by Gaiman himself.

Not only did I finish listening to it, but I found that I had enjoyed it! I was proud of myself for actually finishing an audiobook, and decided that I wanted to give it another go.

Obtaining audiobooks was a bit tricky at first. I signed up for a free trial of Audible, which is how I listened to The Graveyard Book, but I didn’t want to pay $15 a month for one book. While watching booktube videos about great audiobooks, I kept hearing about Scribd, which is significantly cheaper and allows you to listen to however many audiobooks you want to each month.

Through Scribd, I ended up listening to quite a few audiobooks: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas,  The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, among a few others.

What I started to realize is that the reason I had never enjoyed audiobooks is that I just hadn’t found the right ones yet. The narrator plays a huge role for me in my enjoyment and understanding of an audiobook. When I find a narrator I love, I end up having fun with the experience.

I’m looking forward to listening to a ton of audiobooks in the future. Next up will be Sadie by Courtney Summers.

If you have any recommendations for great audiobooks that I should listen to, please let me know in the comments! I would love some suggestions!

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If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!