In one of Sabrina‘s recent videos, in which she discussed her end of year goals, she linked to a fantastic blog post that detailed how the writer tracked their reading. The writer linked to an outline of the spreadsheet that they used, which I downloaded and filled in with the books I have read this 2014.
The spreadsheet tracks the book, author, author’s gender, date started, date finished, total pages, genre, format, author’s nationality, and whether or not the author is a person of colour. These last two are not in the original spreadsheet outline, but, like the author of the blog post, I added them in.
This year there has been a lot of talk on social media about diverse books and reading diversely. It has been an important conversation; I’m glad that it has taken place and is still going on. This conversation sparked me to start paying closer attention to my own reading habits. I have also striven to read more diversely, particularly aiming to read more books by authors of colour.
Despite this, I knew that my reading would likely still be overwhelmingly white and male. Seeing the proof all written down, however, was somewhat shocking. Of the 35 books I have read this year, only 11 were written by women, and only 13 by people of colour. Even if you include the two books I am currently reading, my total of female authors does not change, and my total of books written by people of colour is only increased to 14.
Upon seeing these facts in black and white, I have decided to make a particularly concerted effort to expand my reading in 2015. I’m especially going to strive to read a lot more female authors. Hopefully by the end of next year I will have discovered more favourite authors who are not white men. Because at the moment my bookshelf is decidedly white and extremely male.
I’m not going to completely desert my white male authors. For a start, that’d probably be impossible and, also, they are capable of writing wonderful books.
Now, I want to make it clear that I am not expecting any brownie points for this. Reading diversely is not something that is impressive and me trying to read more diversely is not worthy of praise. I just think that it is important and, as it’s something I’m going to try to do, I thought I’d share these plans with you.
How about you? Have you been paying attention to what and who you’re reading? Have your results been shameful like mine, or have you been reading diversely?