For the last two years I’ve been recording every book I read, mostly just for interest sake. However, this afternoon I realised that I had a lot of data at my fingertips about my reading habits, specifically gender and ethnic diversity.
In 2013 I read 171 books. When I marked each entry that was by a woman it totalled 85. Now, this is rough because sometimes if I read four books in a series I write “Protector of the Small x4” so that’s four books by one female author, but other times I have a number of different books by the same author spread out throughout. However, I think it’s safe to say that about half the books I read were by female authors. Yay me! High fives all around! Oh wait… that’s just the good news…
The bad news is that when I tracked authors of colour it’s abysmal. Seriously. Emabrrassingly. Abysmal. The total at the end of my list was 14 – less than 10%. Yikes. What’s more, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and N.K. Jemisin both feature twice, so that’s only 12 authors overall. Interesting: of the 14 books I read, half were non-fiction, a much higher proportion than overall.
The good news is that 2014 is already on a better track. I’ve read 12 books so far – four by non-white authors. So, slightly late 2014 resolution: 20% of the books I read this year will be by people of colour.
I’m really excited about this because it means being more aware of what I’m picking up and what I’m consuming. In some ways it doesn’t matter if I get to 19% or 21%, it’s about paying attention and seeking out great books rather than just accepting the ones that cross my path.
I’ve taken a pretty good first step in signing up to the Kinna Reads Africa Reading Challenge and I’ve already read Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih, which was amazing. I’m also going to follow what other people post and aim to read more than just the five of the challenge.
On that note, I would love any suggestions people have for me to add to my list. I’m going through Tumblr rec lists (there are a lot!) but would definitely take some input from anyone with favourites.