I’ve talked about diverse books a lot on the blog, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that diversity in reading ties back to my “explore” theme for the year. Exploring other cultures, perspectives, and identities through books? That’s a no-brainer for me.
I decided that I would take a look at my 2014 reading habits to see how I could challenge myself in 2015. I figured that 50% “outside myself” would be reasonable, because obviously I really care about diversity in reading, and I’m already reading a lot of diverse authors and books with diverse characters.
Except…my numbers don’t reinforce that.
Sure, I may have read a lot of books in which supporting characters were people of color, non able-bodied, or gay or lesbian, but I didn’t read many in which a main character presented a life terribly different from my own. There were a lot of white hetero characters with white hetero problems. Oh, and regardless, a lot of the books were penned by white folks. My author diversity stats ended up being around 8%. As in, 8% of the books I read were by an author who wasn’t white. I thought I’d hit 20-25%, but I was way, way off. It just goes to show that even with awareness, you still have to seek out “diverse” books and actively engage in the discovery process. My goal for this year is 25%; with a lot of the “looking to 2015” publishing posts that came out earlier this month, I’ve curated quite the future TBR pile. It’s a balance of different authors and genres.
I’m also experimenting with different types of books – more memoirs, essays, short stories, and maybe even some poetry. I’ve been solidly in the “novel” or “rousing non-fiction” camp for years, and I’d like to extend those boundaries.
What are you reading this year?