A number of authors and librarians began to advocate for more diverse books to be published and promoted last year through the #WeNeedDiverseBooks hash tag. You can learn more about this campaign by taking a look at the We Need Diverse Books website. I admit that I didn’t do a whole lot of reflection or thinking at the time about my own personal reading habits. I have read a variety of authors over the years that reflect a wide spectrum of diversity. However, I could see that I was stuck in a post-apocalyptic and dystopian rut after reviewing my GoodReads read bookshelf. I decided that 2015 would be the year that I expand my reading universe.
I discovered Janet Ursel’s post, We Read Diverse Books, over Christmas break. Janet does a nice summary of the need for more diverse books and takes the idea one step further by challenging her blog readers to start reading more diverse books themselves. She is posting a diverse reading challenge every month during 2015. Her first challenge is to read “one book…about or by someone of a race different than yours.”
My reading blind spot is African authors. I took the required and even a few elective English courses during my undergraduate studies at Ohio State. I don’t recall reading many (if any) African authors beyond those that were part of a course required anthology textbook. MPOW does not have a huge African literature collection. We did have a copy of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, which I finished last week. I am waiting for a copy of One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir by Binyavanga Wainaina to arrive sometime this next week from another Ohio academic library.
Have you thought much about your reading habits? Are you reading a diverse set of authors? If not, I highly encourage you to join those of us who are intentionally diversifying the authors and topics read during 2015. Please share the books you are reading on Twitter by using the #WeReadDiverseBooks hash tag.