The Conscious Reader: What I Reached For This Year

 

james-baldwin

James Baldwin

Over my reading career, I’ve noticed that I don’t read many books by People of Color (POC). I don’t consciously omit them from my reading list. However, I do not consciously make an effort to seek them out either. I thought it was about time that I made this effort. I often read for authors I’ve read before, or books on best seller lists. I don’t say to myself, “Is this a POC?” It shouldn’t matter if the book is good. But what does matter is that the lists often don’t have many POC’s to reach for. In more recent days, the list seems to have more inclusion of POC’s, or maybe I’m just starting to notice.

My goal for this year was to read at least 1 POC (African-American/Black, Latino, Asian, Native American) a month. I low-balled it because I would be in school and wouldn’t be sure as to how much stuff I’d have to read for that.

These are the books I read thus far this year that were written by POC’s

  1. Imagine This: Creating the Work You Love – Maxine Clair
  2. Ghetto Klown – John Leguizamo
  3. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky – HeidiDurrow
  4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – August Wilson
  5. The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin
  6. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  7. Lost Spells of Marie Laveau – Marie Laveau
  8. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
  9. The Santa Muerte – Gustavo Vazquez Lozano
  10. Miss Burma – Charmaine Craig
  11. Kindred – Octavia Butler
  12. Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood – Trevor Noah
  13. Bad Feminist – Roxanne Gay
  14. Chango’s Fire – Ernesto Quiñonez

By consciously selecting these books I’ve read 14 of them (by September 1). I went back to my list from 2016 and though I read many more books by this time last year, I only read 7 books by POC’s. They were picked without making a conscious effort.

I am sure if I went back through my reading lists, I’d see a similar pattern.

Roxane-Gay

Roxanne Gay

Most of the books on the above list were above average. There were a few that I could have lived without, but that is always the way it is when any book.

 

My goal for 2017 was to read 12 books by POC. I have 4 full months left (as of Sept. 1), I will try and raise this goal to 20.

About Liz Kelso

www.lizkelso.com
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