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If You Can Read This
HOW close do you want to get?
Ways to grow, a reading rainbow. 
24th-Feb-2015 01:14 am
Reading
So, there's a challenge going around to diversify your reading, or rather who you read. Even today, the bulk of authors are white, male and heterosexual.

Don't overthink it! Don't say "Well, I read what I like and it's not my fault if writers like me are just better. Reading is to challenge and open your mind. If you are reading sci-fi or fantasy and have no trouble believing that there is interstellar travel or elves, but never see a three-dimensional non-white, non-het, non-male character, something is off.

Before I checked out my shelf (this is the hardback shelf in the living room), I figured I probably skew slightly female, fairrrrrlyyyyy white and have a fair amount of LGBT stuff.

What I found was of the 71 books on that shelf(not counting ones that actually belong to my mom), (numbers won't add up because these are three different lists)
45 of them are by female authors,
16 by LGBT folks (though only four authors, 9 are by Armistead Maupin, 3 are graphic novels/collections of Allison Bechdel, and two are by Maya Angelou (not a lot of people know or remember that she identified as bisexual).
The most telling part is that I have two, (TWO) by a person of color, and those would be "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and "Mom and Me and Mom," both by Maya Angelou.

I have no doubt that the larger shelf of probably 150-ish paperbacks in my bedroom, including a lot of children's books , picturebooks and more pop culture-y stuffkskews similarly, maybe leaning even more female, with the LGBT's represented by Alison Bechdel's memoir The Indelible Alison Bechdel and the paperback versions (there are bonus stories not included in the hardcover compliation in the living room) and three John Waters books. Off the top of my head, I am pretty sure that only Striped Ice Cream by Joan Lexau (whom I'm not 100% sure was black herself, though a number of her books involve black characters) and Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan are by POC. Just over 1%.

I'm not impressed.

Now, the books I own and the reading I do in general are two different things, I tend to only buy books when I've checked them out of the library several times and realize that I'd be happier having a copy in the house (I call these "go-to" books), and most of the books I've bought for myself are part of a series that I love. I'm a little more diverse in my library reading, and quite certain.


A few years ago, rather than doing the 50 Books POC challenge (to read 50 books by non-white people in a year) I decided to just keep track and see what I read, and I read 17 new-to-me books by POCs that year, but it probably would have been fewer if I hadn't re-discovered Jacqueline Woodson, 9 of those were hers. (She is also a lesbian, which I just realized when I was Googling her. It has only been an incidental theme in her books that I have read.).

So, this is interesting to me.
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