I read a lot of books. That’s no secret.
I love the power of reading, but I also think we have to be intentional about the kinds of books we read. I’m a big fan of reading what you love, but I think it’s still important to pursue diversity in those choices.
I’ve learned from experience that you have to be intentional about that. So every year I track those diversity stats to see how I’m doing. It’s not a perfect system and it’s not the only thing I do, but it’s one step.
I base gender simply on the author, counting a book if any contributor is a woman. For race I count a book if a contributor or main character is a person of color.
Here are the results for 2016:
- 54% POC books
- 59% female authors.
Here’s how diverse my reading has been since 2001:
Here are the actual numbers (with totals) for 2016:
While the numbers are just numbers, I think the real results are showing up in my lists of favorite books for the year. Both my fiction and non-fiction lists this year were topped by writers of color, and my fiction top five is all writers of color. Those lists have been getting more diverse over the years.
It’s all pretty subjective, but in general I think it continues to push me toward hearing and responding to more voices, especially ones that are different from my own experience and perspective.
If you want to read more, check out my booklet 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading Again.