sarah HANNAH gómez

reading audit: first quarter 2017

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This one, because it’s about STEM and it stars a black girl and nothing is ever said about it at all.

The year is a quarter over, and I’ve not really lived up to my #resist reading, but I have certainly read a lot, and in not a bad spread. Thanks to Book Riot, stats are coming as I read books, so I don’t have to do a bunch of math at one time.

A really impressive story that gets in the head of an “accidental racist” and an accurate picture of being the outsider at a private school.

I have read a total of 49 books thus far in 2017–12 adult, 16 YA, 10 middle grade, and 11 picturebooks. Thirty-five are by female-identifying authors/illustrators, which is a great ratio, because who really cares about men anyway. I’m trying to keep count of authors/illustrators who are queer and authors/illustrators who are PoC, in addition to protagonists, but I’m sure I’m lower than accurate on my count for creators because I can only presume so much. So while my creator numbers are basically irrelevant, 28 books have PoC main characters, and six have queer main characters, so obviously I have a ton of work to do on the latter.

Messes with your head to the last page.

One thing I never would have thought to count but that the spreadsheet already had on it is the number of backlist vs. 2017 books. Twelve of the books I’ve read either came out or will come out this year, and the rest are backlist, though mostly only from 2016, which is essentially still frontlist. To that end, I also decided to see if I could make any headway on my book purchasing problem by tracking which books I read are borrowed (library or friend, no distinction made) and which I already owned (including if I purchased them the day I read them. I have a problem. A real problem.). I’m doing a bit better on reading things I own, but not amazing. Nineteen books were mine; the other 30 came from the library.

Body positivity! And snark.

I can’t really complain that I get sent tons of books to review, nor that I am taking two really interesting classes, one of which is literature-based and means I’m getting to knock off a few books I wanted to read anyway and call them homework, either because they were added to the syllabus or because I’m assigning them to myself for my final paper. Then again, for the first time in my life I’ve amassed a veritable pile, not just one or two, of adult novels that don’t look like complete garbage, and I desperately want to read them, and there’s no time. I’m telling myself this summer, but who am I kidding? One thing about this spreadsheet’s calculating on its own is that I’m hoping it will keep me on track to use the library less and read my own backlog more. This will help me a) feel like I’m not throwing money away; b) possibly reduce the number of books I own, because once I’ve read them I can give them away or take them to the used bookstore; and c) reduce the overdue fines I amass at the library.

Just…unexpected.

Every year, auditing my reading goes to show how even I, someone who is aggressively dedicated to diversity in books, have a lot of work to do as far as reading diversely enough. This year is no exception thus far in the usual definitions of diversity (race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, etc), though I am pleased about the fairly equal span of audience age and the fact that I’ve read a decent amount of comics narratives, not just prose. So there’s that, at least. But really, we all need to be better at diversity, and numbers are really helpful for recognizing that basically none of us are doing enough unless we are ever-vigilant about our reading.

Anyway, scattered throughout this post are some of the highlights from my reading thus far. I know I don’t really blog anymore, so enjoy these recommendations.

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