Reading Diversely 2015 Summary

My last few posts before my inadvertent blog hiatus were about K.T. Bradford’s article on xojane I Challenge You to Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year. My version was to be more aware of what I was reading and to consciously chose to read more writers of color.

I did … not do great in 2015. It would be really easy to kind of slink my way out of saying so and just drop the topic (as with so many intentions when it comes to blogging that kind of disappear). But, I think it’s important to not do that. I consider myself one of those thoughtful, anti-racist white people, and I’m still not doing so great. It takes effort for me to not read just white women with a smattering of white men. I’m not saying it’s hard. This is not rocket science. But it does take change. It does take listening to voices I didn’t realize I wasn’t listening to, just to find the kinds of books that I want to read written by people of color. And sometimes it means reading books that I’m not sure I want to read but trying anyway.

And while I didn’t do great numbers-wise, I noticed that by the end of the year my tastes had changed (not all because of this challenge, but it was one strand in it.) A lot of books felt too much the same to others or too flat. And too improbably white. I also read a lot of fantastic books, the most I’ve ever posted on my my About me page, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many were authors of color.

To the numbers:

According to Goodreads, I read 117 books in 2015.

73 were by white women, and an additional 3 DNF

9 were by white men

25 were by women of color, and an additional 1 DNF

5 were by men of color, and an additional 1 DNF

That’s 85 books by white people or 73%

And 32 books by people of color or 27%

 

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Reading Challenge–Reading Diversely

I tried not to look at the other results when I was searching for K.T. Bradford’s article on xojane I Challenge You to Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year, but unsurprisingly, it looks pretty bad. Mostly I wanted to do this for my own information, but now I don’t mind adding my noise against the ignorant, the racists and the sexists.

Last year, I recorded reading 76 books. I know I read more like 120 books, but I get lazy and I read fast and I forget what I read. Which is why I want to write down what I’ve been reading in the first place. Anyway. Since high school or college I’ve consistently read many more women than men, so that’s a given.

2014

Women authors (presumed to be white): 63 out of 76

Women authors of color: 5 out of 76 (yeesh)

Men authors of color: 6 (ditto)

Men (presumed to be white): 7

Look at that. Even given my bias against men, I still managed to read more white men than either women or men of color. That’s bad.

As for content:

6 books had a character with some kind of disability or disability was important to the narrative (the wording here because of a memoir)

22 books had characters of color

4 books had a LGBTQ character

66 books had a woman main character or focused on women

Those numbers are a little soft since I read a number of books about writing (by women) and a bunch of SFF that had non-humans as the main characters.

I was already doing better in 2015 before the challenge:

31 books read

7 written by people of color (6 women, 1 man)

28 written by women

That’s still 24 books by white women.