WE'VE MADE IT HALFWAY THROUGH 2020!
Which, given the year and state of the world, definitely deserves to be celebrated. I did a A LOT less reading in June as compared to April and May, only thirteen books, a lot of them on audio. Even though this is less than my past two months, its more than I usually read. I'm definitely still hiding away in stories and they're providing me with a happy place to rest my brain.
My June READ pile was shorter, but absolutely jam packed with EXCELLENT reads (aside from the Mass Effect Game Guide, because as game guides go, it was a mess). Not pictured are my audio books, which included: The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore, Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells, The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski, Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender, and Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi. Also not pictured is American Hippo by Sarah Gailey because I passed it on to a friend who wanted to read it!
There is not a single book I read in June that I wouldn't recommend (other than the game guide, but like, if you're not playing Mass Effect, then you're good to go) My top 3 for the books I enjoyed the most were: Behind the Throne (I can't wait to read the rest of this series!), Shatter the Sky, and The Wolf of Cape Fen.
Normally, I barely scrape my way through 50 books a year, this year I have READ SO MANY. I'm currently at 81 and I have 6 months left (and lots of pre-orders set to arrive!). So, I wanted to take a minute to look at some basic statistics because I think its important to be aware of what you're reading and to try and be as diverse as possible.
I also think that if we're able to come up with a diverse author (read: NOT a cis-straight-white male) we're like LOOK AT ME, I'M A DIVERSE READER. But its really so much more than that and if you look at your reading habits, you'll know where you need to make a better effort.
Why does this matter? Because YOUR VERSION OF THE WORLD IS NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT EXISTS. As I recently suggested to a family member, I think a good way to start is to read one book from an author with an identity or marginalization you don't share for every book by an author with an identity/marginalization you do share. (and look, this rule basically applies to cis-het white people, because we (I am lumping myself in here because I am hetero-passing) have got to do better about putting other narratives front and center).
There they are! My lovely 81 books!
So, I analyzed my good reads (okay, I printed out the list and highlighted books and then counted how many of each colour highlighter) and came up with the following: (See data notes below for clarifications!)
Total books: 81
I struggled to decide on the best way to divide this data and felt that for my general purposes to group authors who use gender-neutral pronouns or were trans into one group as my data numbers were small and did not lend themselves to further breakdown (I legit consulted a very research smart datanerd for this)
Gender, racial, and queer identity information was gathered from author bios (In book, on Goodreads, and on Twitter) and so there is margin for error there depending on an author's comfort level with announcing/claiming any of those identities
4 books were co-author-ships with 1 female/ 1 male that's why the numbers don't add up (although I am also REALLY BAD at math, so if that was you're first thought, you aren't wrong)
Queer books: For this data, I chose to go with books that either had a queer POV character OR featured strong queernormative world building. Why? Because pinpointing the sexuality of the author was a big grey area for me and while *most* of the queer books I read were penned by queer authors, it wasn't always a clear cut delineation.
My interpretation of my data: I need to read more BIPOC books and I need more queer books. I want those numbers to be more than 50% . I also need to read more genderqueer and trans books. There is absolutely no reason for that number to not be at or above 50% as well.
I knew I read a lot of books by women. I gravitate to them and I have no problems finding them and falling deeply in love with the wonderful stories they've written.
And even though my number of genderqueer and trans authors is low, it was more than I had expected. I knew it was a weak point in my reading and before I started actually counting, I was like I've maybe read 2? So I was happy to find 11 authors in that data subset and am hoping that I can continue to build on that number! My ideal goal would be to split my reading 33/33/33ish between female and genderqueer and trans authors.
BUT KATJA, WHAT ABOUT THE CIS-HET MENS?
What about them? They're doing just fine. I don't think I need to give them more space or time.
I also thought I read more queer books, but only 41 of my 81 counted, which is 51%, but like I feel that number would look better as a 75% or 80% or even 100%.
And same for my BIPOC books. I can easily name several from my recently read and others in my TBR, but at 23, that's only 28%. I need to do better! This number should also be above 50%.
So, here's my current TBR. I also have several BIPOC, queer, and genderqueer and trans books on the way! I'm hoping my numbers go up over the next six months and I can improve my percentages.
It can be hard to find sometimes because I gravitate to fantasy and while the queer stats in fantasy have gone up, there is still disproportionately few BIPOC fantasies. I'm utilizing new lists, looking for recommendations and working to add these to my TBR even when they aren't getting the marketing they should. I also just signed up for Rainbow Crate and Marginsbox to help support marginalized folx in the book business AND to get more books in my hands that fit the criteria that I'm looking for. I want more books like this in the world and the best thing I can do is put my money where my mouth is.
These books will eventually make it into my classroom library where I will foist them on unsuspecting teens! muwahahahahahaha. As our school library budget continues to be cut (look, its a whole thing and I am gonna save that epic rant for another day), I'm doing my best to keep my classroom library stocked with as many diverse and #ownvoices books as possible.
Between my current TBR and my pre-order and backordered book list, the next 6 months are looking pretty damn good in terms of me increasing my numbers in the categories I'm looking to improve on.
I'm always looking for recommendations! Feel free to leave a comment telling me what I should read next!
Thanks for reading!