Hi, and welcome to Reading in the Margins! A few months into 2016 (aka the worst year in human history) I noticed that every single book I’d read in the year so far was written by a white male author. I’m a feminist and an ally and if I was unconsciously choosing far more books by white male authors, how could I expect anyone else to be doing any different? While it’s taken me longer than I like to admit to do anything about this, recent events have motivated me to make a real change. I’ve decided to pledge to ONLY read books written by women/minorities/LGTBQ authors for the next year (until the end of 2017).
While this pledge was motivated by the results of the election, I don’t intend for it or this blog to be political. You won’t see me mention he-who-must-not-be-named ever on this platform. The purpose of my pledge is to start reading more female and minority authors, and the purpose of this blog is to serve as a resource for anyone else who is inspired to do the same. I’ll be posting every book I read over the next year on this blog with a brief review and commentary. I won’t use any kind of rating system because I find it limiting, but I will highlight any books that I feel stand out as particularly spectacular or relevant.
The following points provide a little more detail about my pledge, and will hopefuly prevent any misinterpretation of my intentions.
- Until December 31st 2017, I will only read books written by women, minorities, or LGTBQ authors.
I recognize that “minority” is a vague term, and “non-white” or “ethnic” isn’t much better. While it’s impossible to pin down things like race and gender (because they’re constructs!!), we’re all able to understand what these terms mean in context and I’ll keep this pledge in a way that makes sense to me.
- I plan to read mostly (but not exclusively) books published post 2000.
I’m doing this for relevance purposes, but more importantly, because I want to be reading authors who are still alive and actively publishing; Authors who are interacting with audiences today and who are currently influencing the literary world. I won’t be avoiding older classics but I won’t be leaning on them either.
- I am NOT trying to read books about racism or about gay rights or about whatever else. I AM trying to read great books by minorities and by women and by LGBTQ authors no matter the content.
Of course it’s more likely that themes of racism and misogyny will come up in a book written by a black woman, but it’s limiting to assume all black female authors just want to write about race and gender!! I’ll continue to read books in my favorite genres but by minority authors.
- Just in case this needs to be said…I DIDN’T SUDDENLY DECIDE I HATE WHITE MALE AUTHORS!
I love, respect, and admire just as many white guys as I did yesterday. However, either white men are far superior writers to any of the rest of us, or women and minorities still aren’t getting the respect and attention they deserve for their art (I’m inclined to believe the latter). It’s still WAY too easy to unconsciously neglect female and minority artists, and the only way around this is to become more conscious of the decisions we make and the art we consume.
So, no matter what art you consume — music, movies, television, literature, comics, whatever! — I urge you to make an effort to seek out minority artists. There is nothing like art to expand empathy and to educate on the human condition, and empathy has never been more important than it is today.
Thanks and enjoy!!