On reading diversely: 08/12/16
Book Riot has a post about reading diversely which has caused a stir in the library community. I'm not going to rehash the arguments for and against the article. Rather, I'm gong to use it as a stepping off point to examine my own stated goal of reading more diversely.
Last December I made a list of reading goals that I have been trying to follow this year. They were:
These goals may seem to be all over the map. In a way they are but I am a voracious reader. I am also currently unemployed. While I do spend about ten to fifteen hours a week volunteering, I still have time to read. That's not to say I'm spending all my free time reading. I'm not. I do, however, read and blog with the realization that when I start working again, my reading and blogging time will be impacted. By how much, I don't know.
Right now, though, I have enough leeway in my reading to address my different goals without feeling stressed and without it feeling like work. Now, it's entirely possible, that I might end up with a position where reading is part of my day to day responsibility, in which case, the reading I do for work will be vastly different than my reading for fun.
My blog has evolved over time. It started as a place to prove to other Bookcrossers that I was reading my book rings in a timely manner. Then it moved to a place to record what I'd read to my children. Then it became a review blog of smaller publishing houses and self published authors. When I went back to school for my MLIS, it was a place to look at some of the books I'd read as text books or as part of my research. Now it's a mixture of curated reading recommendations, a place to write more in depth thoughts about my road narrative project, and a place to track the ebb and flow of my personal reading.
Getting back to the reading diversely, that by itself is a pretty open ended statement. Put in a personal context, it means reading beyond my own few favorite authors, reading books by authors or with characters who are different from me (white, middle aged, middle class, Californian). As I work with children through my volunteering, the bulk of my reading is children's and YA literature. I do this because the books I talk about most are children's books — either to parents, teachers, children's and teen librarians, or directly with children and teens.
As I live in a diverse area and have a diverse group of people to recommend books to, the vast majority of my efforts to read diversely are aimed at books for children and teens.
So how am I doing?
As of posting this article, I've read and reviewed 225 books. Remember, the goal to shorten the average length between reading and reviewing books? The difference in percentages in the pie charts represent that gap. (I have a future post planned where I look at the continuing problem with lag.) Among the books I've read this year, 21% (or 60 books) are diverse. Among the reviews posted so far, 23% (or 67) books are diverse.