Towards the end of 2013 this video popped up in my Youtube recommendations. The title 'Discussion | Race, Gender & Reading Habits' by Booktuber Rincey Reads looked interesting and I decided to take a look.
The discussion in the video, as the title suggests, revolves around her reading habits and diversity. She looked at her own book collection, both read and unread, and considered how many authors she reads that are of different genders and race.
What she found was a surprising unintentional lack of diversity in her book collection and decides to challenge herself (and her viewers) to actively seek out books by 'people of colour' and consider diversity from now on.
The video got me intrigued about my own reading habits, not just when it comes to diversity of authors but also of characters within the books themselves, in terms of gender, race, culture and also sexuality. The fact that I struggled to find books I wanted to include in my header photograph for this post is certainly telling.
As a person of colour myself, I was a little ashamed that I read very little outside of the 'caucasian' author/lead protagonist bubble. Not that there's anything wrong with this but books do provide us a wonderful opportunity to learn about others, 'live other lives' and challenge our way of thinking.
So I'm taking a stand.
In 2014 I pledge to actively seek out more diverse books/authors and read them.
This means more seeking out authors and books featuring people of different ethnicities, genders, sexualities, abilities, and considering more equal representation in my reading habits.
This doesn't mean ruling out the what I've been reading prior to this year as bad or never reading a book by a Caucasian author ever again. It does however mean being a bit more thoughtful when I'm meandering through the bookshelves at Waterstones or scrolling through GoodReads for books and authors that will give me a rounder view on the fictional world.
A few links to help you if you want to join me on this pledge!
- Diversity in YA on Tumblr (they've also now launched a full on website). They post regular recommendations on literature with a range of ethnicities, cultures and sexualities.
- Similarly Rich In Colour's Tumblr and website for even more recommendations!
- Booktuber Allyn J'nae's Black Literature recommendations (Allyn was also part of the inspiration for Rincey making her video)
- Geek & Sundry's Top LGBT novels and why they love them so much.
- The books tag on Racialicious (and the website in general!)
- Literary Fiction of People of Colour and International Reads groups on GoodReads.
- and, of course, you can search hashtags like #diversityinSFF and #diverselit on Twitter, the 'diverselit' tag on Tumblr.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic, both on here or on Twitter if you wanna chat!