At the end of 2015, I wrote a post about my goals to read more diverse books in 2016. We’re not only about a third of the way through the year yet, but I figured it would be a good time to go through the list of the types of books I wanted to read this year and see how on track I am.
How have I fared so far?
At the end of 2015, my goals for 2016 included reading:
At least one book written before 1800 — Nope, not yet.
At least one romance novel — Not yet, but I do have a few Courtney Milan books ready to go on my tablet.
At least one book with a queer, trans, intersex, or gender-nonconforming main character — There are a few here, but most of them feature queer characters, rather than intersex or trans ones: Bitch Planet Vol 1 by by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro, An Alphabet of Embers edited by Rose Lemberg (a short story anthology containing protagonists with varying identities and orientations), The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin, Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson, and The Illegal by Lawrence Hill. I think one could argue that Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett also qualifies. Plus, The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord contains a secondary character with a non-binary gender identity.
At least one book with a disabled main character — The Illegal.
At least one book with a main character of colour — Elysium, The Best of All Possible Worlds, Bitch Planet Vol 1, The Kingdom of Gods/The Broken Kingdoms, Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zenahat Khan, Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson, Captain America: The Truth, by Robert Morales and Kyle Baker, Pen Pal by Francesca Forrest, The Illegal, Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. I bet there are some I’ve forgotten, too.
At least one book from an independent/small press — Elysium. Plus, I’m currently reading The Honey Month by Amal El-Mohtar, another book done through a small press.
At least one book about science — Does advanced mathematics count? If so, then How to Bake π by Eugenia Cheng totally counts.
At least one book about food and culture — Not quite. How to Bake π kinda counts since it contains recipes in addition to discussions of advanced math. I bet I’ll read a book about tea later on this year, though.
At least one book written by a Latin American author — Nope, not yet.
At least one book by an Asian author — Eugenia Cheng (How to Bake π) is of Asian heritage. But I really want to add a bit more here.
At least one book by an African author — Nope, not yet.
At least one book by a Caribbean author — Karen Lord, Jennifer Marie Brisset and Nalo Hopkinson are all of Caribbean background.
At least one book by an LGBTIA author — An Alphabet of Embers was edited by, and contains works by, people who identify with various terms under this umbrella.
At least one book by a disabled author — Nope, not yet (that I know of).
At least one book on a topic I know nothing about — Before How to Bake π I knew nothing about category theory, so there you go.
At least one work translated into English from another language — Nope, not yet.
At least one book of poetry — I’m in the process of reading The Honey Month, so this will be checked off soon.
At least one historical fiction novel set before 1800 — Nope, not yet.
At least one mystery novel — The Unquiet Dead.
At least one YA novel — Pen Pal and Midnight Robber, plus A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett.
At least two finalists of the 2016 Canada Reads competition — So far, I’ve only read The Illegal. I picked up Birdie by Tracy Lindberg, but it wasn’t grabbing me, so I put it down.
At least one graphic novel written or drawn by a LGBTIA creator — None that I currently know of.
At least one graphic novel written or drawn by a woman — Bitch Planet Vol 1, Squirrel Girl Vol 2 (which I’ve read but chosen not to review because I already reviewed the debut volume last year).
At least one graphic novel written or drawn by a person of colour — Captain America: The Truth
At least one graphic novel written or drawn by a disabled person — None that I currently know of.
At least one graphic novel from an independent/small press — Nope, not yet.
What do these results mean?
I’ve done pretty well in some categories, but not in others — in particular, I was proud of reading only black authors this February. However, there were a lot of books overlapping between several different categories.
This indicates that I need to do more work finding and reviewing books that meet the different criteria I’ve listed above, because having the same book fit multiple categories is just too easy/lazy. So I need to do more research on things like authors from different countries, authors who are disabled or write about disability, and authors who identify as trans/intersex. On top of that, I really need to diversify my reading in terms of genre, and stretch outside of my non-fiction/speculative fiction comfort zone.
However, I can’t go it alone. And this is where you come in, gentle reader. What awesome books would you recommend to me? What books meeting the criteria on this list do you think are worth a look at? Tell me in the comments!