Diversity in Reading Meme
1. Name the last book by a female author that you’ve read.
Non-fiction? Human Cargo by Caroline Moorehead Fiction? Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin
2. Name the last book by an African or African-American author that you’ve read.
A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliot (and it was so good! Thanks so much Susan for having the giveaway. I’ll be reviewing it soon!) Coincidentally, Elliot has a blog and just did this meme too. (Not really a coincidence, since we’re both fans of Susan and Color Online.)
3. Name one from a Latino/a author.
Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende
4. How about one from an Asian country or Asian-American?
I’m currently reading one by an Indonesian author: This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. He’s an incredible storyteller. The last completed book by an Asian author I’ve read is The Noodle Maker by Ma Jin.
5. What about a GLBT writer?
I don’t know the orientation of most authors, but I know Freak Show by James St. James falls into the G and T categories, while Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters covers L. I can’t think of a bisexual writer off the top of my head, but it’s not really my business, is it?
6. Why not name an Israeli/Arab/Turk/Persian writer, if you’re feeling lucky?
I just finished Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red.
7. Any other ‘marginalized’ authors you’ve read lately?
Indigenous peoples! They weren’t covered in the other questions. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read anything *by* them this year, but I just read Javatrekker, which involves the author’s travels to indigenous communities worldwide. And I’m planning on reading Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera, a Maori author, this month, after I finish This Earth of Mankind. And I do have some Louise Erdich on my shelves.
Any suggestions for indigenous authors? Or GLBT? They’d be much appreciated!
For most of these questions (except GLBT), I could have listed at least five authors I’ve read this year…I make an active effort to diversify my reading, which is why I like challenges and making the accompanying reading lists. Because if I just read books randomly, I probably wouldn’t be exposed to nearly as many world views. Actually, I can prove that since I have my 2006 books read list posted (I started blogging in 2007). I read 68% male authors vs. 32% female, a tendency that I’ve since worked to balance. This year, I’m at 54% female authors! Similarly, only 26% of my fiction was international (note: I never include England in int’l, since I lived there for so long) and if you take Europe out of the equation, that percentage drops to 17% (and half of those were Indian authors). This year, I’m at 34% (taking Europe out leaves me at 28%), and I’ve read authors from every continent except Antarctica. I’ll stop with the geeky statistics, but my point is that I’ve managed to change my reading habits, and while I still need to work harder on some areas (only 8% of the fiction I’ve read this year was written by American minorities, which is better than 0%, but definitely not stellar), I’ve benefited enormously from broadening my reading. There’s that great quote, “Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.” And at the end of the day, that’s why I seek out authors whose backgrounds are completely different from mine.
Do you strive for diversity in your own reading? Or do you not worry about it? Why or why not?
Ok, I’m going to stop rambling now. ;)