What I’m Reading When I’m Not Writing

Here’s a funny thing: You know how last year I said my goal was to read books by not so many white people? I did okay on that goal, but this year, when I’m in Project Read My Own Damn Books mode, I seem to be doing better at making my reading list more equitable than I did in 2015. Out of the seven books I’ve read this year, four are by writers of color. At the moment I’m reading a book by Willa Cather, but the next two upcoming books are by writers of color.

I’m not trying to toot my horn here and say “oh, look how good I’m being.” Because ugh, that’s boring. What’s interesting to me is that maybe a year focusing on prying off my own blinders has helped me keep casting my reading net wider.

(Way to mix metaphors, Ricker. Are you sure you’re a writer?)

Shut up, inner voice. And no, I question myself all the time, but more on that some other time. Also, shut up.

I think you should totally read what you want, but at the same time ask yourself, how do you know what you don’t want to read? If you want to keep up with my ongoing reading list for 2016, you can check it out here or here.

Anyway! I’m adding Matt Bell’s Baldur’s Gate II to my list after reading this article in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Matt was a visiting writer at the Vermont Studio Center when I was there, and was incredibly friendly and generous with his time. His book In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods is already on my to-read list, and his latest book, Scrapper, has been getting good reviews.

Some valuable perspective. Read Claire Fuller’s “Some things I’ve learned in my year of being published.”

And for a lot of perspective, read “You Will Be Tokenized”: Speaking Out About the State of Diversity in Publishing.

Lastly, a story I read last year that I reread for a class I’m teaching and still love: “The Quiet Thing” by Che Yeun.