reading audit: first quarter 2017

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. Continue reading

what i still need to work on

I’m going to be teaching a Continuing Ed class in April through Simmons called Diversity 102: Moving Beyond and Forward. If you have spent more than five seconds here, you know that I am passionate about diversity in books but rather fed up with this 101 approach everyone keeps taking – if we don’t move past calling for diversity and wanting diversity, we’re not actually going to get anywhere. It’s all well and good to care but quite another to actively stop buying books that don’t support a more diverse canon or to read books that move beyond stereotypes and tropes into fully realized diverse characters. Etc etc.

Anyway. I am really excited to teach this class and would love it if you wanted to take it. But really, what I’m realizing as I build the course is that I still have some work to do myself (duh – we all do). Without fully auditing my last year’s reading (thanks, error on GoodReads), I can say just from general reflection – and having been asked by a teacher colleague at work if I can recommend books by Asian writers – that I do not read many Asian writers, and most that I do read are South Asian in descent or origin, not East Asian. So I need to work on that. I hear Ruth Ozeki is great and now I really want to try her novels, and I have books by Ellen Oh, Maureen Goo and Grace Lin on my bookshelf, but I will gladly take suggestions for authors if you can name a specific book that you think I would particularly like. With, of course, the caveat that comes from all of my accepting of book recommendations – my to-read list is incredibly long and entirely aspirational, so if I don’t read your suggestion, that doesn’t actually mean I don’t want to, just that I haven’t been able to quit my day job(s) yet. If something really and truly interests me, it goes on that list and stays on it. And I read it when I can. And given that this is a huge gap in my reading, I intend to do some rearranging of my current piles of books and try to get to it sooner. Continue reading

it’s hard to shake the summer reading idea

….even if you no longer get “summer vacation.” So here I go, making summer reading plans. Even though, you know, I still have to wake up every day and clock in and out and all that stuff. I can’t get used to the idea that I actually won’t have any more free time than I have now, so I’m looking for guitar lessons and drawing classes and all sorts of things I don’t have the time or money to do. But I can afford to read, since I already own books and have a library card, and I have been getting better at carving out more time in my day for reading. Television is getting really boring. So. I’ve been considering my reading, thinking about the interactions I have with colleagues, trying to get in the heads of my characters in the novel I’m writing, and keeping track of conversations I have with students so that I can come up with a good list of books/authors/genres I need to read in the next few months. Continue reading