Monday, September 26, 2016

Behind the Blog: A Look at my Read List

If you follow the book community at all on Twitter, you will most likely have noticed a recent uptick in the members discussing the need for more diversity in books.  That there needs to be more books with people of color (PoC) as the main characters, more LGBQTIA main characters, more main characters with disabilities, etc.

Along with increasing the diversity, the discussions have also been about reading books that are "own voices."  An example of what they mean by "own voices" is quite simply, if the main character is a member of the LGBQTIA community, the author is also.  That way, we the reader can really see those characters for what they are and are not subject to stereotypes and or shoddy research.

There was a lot more to these conversations and discussions on Twitter, but for the purpose of this discussion these are the points I am going to focus on.

I will be the first to admit that I don't participate too much in these discussions, but they definitely got me thinking.  And this thinking led me to take a closer look at my read list on Goodreads where I have been tracking the books I have read for the last 6 years.  I went on there with the idea to create an "own voices" shelf to mark those that I have read and to hopefully help others find them.

So I started looking at what I have read.

And I kept looking.

See I have over 600 books listed as read on my Goodreads account.  I personally think that is a lot, though I know others have way more than I do.

But the important point here is that I have over 600 books on Goodreads.  600!!

And I had to keep looking for own voices titles.

I am so ashamed to admit that I found only 5 titles that I know of to be own voices on my read list.  There may be more on there, I have never really paid attention to the background of authors before.  Usually I pick a book up because it has a pretty cover or because I have been hearing about it over and over and over again and curiosity has finally caught up to me.

But guys, I don't need to tell you that 5 out of 600 books is a very dismal amount.  You don't have to be good at math (and I am not) to see that it is low.  So low.  It almost doesn't exist.

And then, while I was looking for the own voices titles on my read list, I had PoC main characters in the back of my mind and was mentally noting them.  Um.  I that number may be even lower than the own voices total.  This actually surprised me.  I know I have read many books with PoC in them, but you know what I realized?  I have read so very few where they are the main character.

I am so disappointed in myself.  

Like I said before, I never really paid attention to things beyond the cover or the buzz I was picking up about a book and I think this is a portion of the white privilege that I hear about in news, on social media, and many other aspects of life.  That I never HAD to think about it.  And as a consequence, most of my books have only had a PoC, or someone belonging to the LGBQTIA community, or other minority, as a side character and not as a main character.

And I need to fix this.  And I will fix this.  

Honestly, the majority of the books that are own voices that I have read have been read since I became a book blogger (many thanks to Irish Banana blog tours actually!)  And it has also only really been since getting into blogging that I have read more LGBQTIA books (and that number on my shelf is low too).  And I want to keep this trend going, and I am going to make that effort to keep it going.

I am going to make a point of putting more these books in my path and to read them.  I am going to continue blogging about them and sharing them with others in hopes that by putting them into their paths they too will read them.

So, I will ask you to help me put more of these books in my path.  Please use the comments section to tell me authors and/or titles to read! 

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