If you recall, my goal in 2014 as a reader was to find and consume fewer stories by straight white guys. Looking back at my list of books read last year, I managed to do that pretty well. Out of thirty-six books, five were written by straight (as far as I know) white guys. Not that there’s anything wrong with straight white guys! It’s just that, well, most of the stories we hear about are written by and about them, and I kind of get burned out on them. Variety, spice of life, and all that. Not to mention expanding our perspectives and tuning in to voices outside that mainstream that also deserve to be heard. As a writer who’s gay, I can relate.
The other thing that jumped out at me when I looked at that list? Even if the writer was gay or a woman (or both!), they tended to be white. Out of those thirty-six novels, only nine were by people of color. That’s a jarring lack of diversity when I reflect on it.
And it’s a trend I can do something about, certainly. So, this year, I’m looking through my to-read stack and prioritizing the books by writers outside my own racial background. (Mind you, the first two books I’ve read this year are by white writers, so I’ve got room to improve.)
Mind you, this is not an effort I’m undertaking so that at the end of the year I can pat myself on the back and say, “Look at all the books I read by people of color!” If nothing else, it points to my woeful myopia of only reading stories by and about people I think (consciously or otherwise) I can relate to. (I mean, look at all the books by gay white male writers on my list.) What we read and what we see—or rather choose to see—shape the way we assume the world to be, and if current events tell me anything, it’s that we make that assumption way too often.
Okay! What’s on your to-read list this year? Or, any suggestions on books I should add to my stack? Tell me about them!