Saturday, November 28, 2015

December Reading List and Challenge

I am participating in a couple of things this December. First of all is an initiative I have been following on Tumblr called #ReadWomen in which we are reading books by women during the month of December.

There has been a generally positive response from the people I follow, but there have been some negative comments from some. Apparently people interpret it as "man hating." I want to clear up now that this is not the case. But there are a ton of books out there by white men who are usually cis and privileged. While women are not the least privileged group out there these days, they do not get as much notoriety as they should. Plus, reading books by someone different is good for you. You may just learn something and expand your world view. Not everyone sees the world the same way as a white male. So reading books by women, women of color, trans women, et cetera, will give you a different look at things. And how is that bad?

One person wrote up a good response to one of the people against the challenge (movement, initiative, whatever you want to call it). Here is their response to someone calling the movement sexist:

I didn’t want to get in this discussion, and after seeing other posts by you I can see you’re not even open to the possibility that you are wrong. No one is calling for the boycott of male or white writers, or talking about a conspiracy, if you don’t know there is an imbalance then you are severely [misinformed].
We looked at fall 2010 catalogs from 13 publishing houses, big and small. Discarding the books that were unlikely to get reviewed—self-help, cooking, art—we tallied up how many were by men and how many were by women. Only one of the houses we investigated—the boutique Penguin imprint Riverhead—came close to parity, with 55 percent of its books by men and 45 percent by women. Random House came in second, with 37 percent by women. It was downhill from there, with three publishers scoring around 30 percent—Norton, Little Brown, and Harper—and the rest 25 percent and below, including the elite literary houses Knopf (23 percent) and FSG (21 percent). Harvard University Press, the sole academic press we considered, came in at just 15 percent.” A Literary Glass Ceiling? I recommend you read that article is analyzing a study that shows that the overwhelming amount of books that get review are by men review by men.
Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people, according to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin. Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books? only 57 by Latinos, 69 Asian Pacifics/Asian Pacific Americans X
I’m done with this discussion, I have nothing to say to a person that thinks that a black person reading only books by POCs is racist. X."

And who knows? Maybe in another month or two, we can read books written only by people of color or by people with disabilities. The point is to draw attention to the imbalance.

In this vein, I have complied my reading list for this month accordingly:

Soundless by Richelle Mead
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
And depending on time/how I feel either Cinder by Marissa Meyer or Hunter by Mercedes Lackey or a re-listen of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern because it is winter-y.

I have also complied some recommendations for books to read:
Tamora Pierce: anything she has written is great, strong women and POC
Diana Wynne Jones
Kate Forsyth
Anne McCaffrey
Janet Evanovich
Sue Harrison: several of her books are historical fiction about native people from Alaska and the islands in the Bering Sea
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
And there are so many more out there.

Lastly, I am going to attempt to participate in the December Reading Challenge by Books and Cupcakes:
So that is that! If anyone out there wants to participate in either of these challenges (or both!) I highly encourage it!

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