In August 2020, I committed to spending an entire year reading books written by authors of colors. I would read nothing by a white author, with two exceptions: one book by one of my favorite authors that I had been waiting a while for, and any educational/historical books on racism that were part of work efforts (which ended up being only White Fragility). I had long ago recognized that “classic” books were male dominated – in middle school and high school, most of our reading lists are books by men or male-identifying people. I felt this lack of diversity, especially when writing essays or preparing for the AP English test, but I easily balanced it by filling my for-enjoyment reading lists with anything my heart desired. In fact, I probably skipped a lot of classics simply because they were written by men and instead read Jane Eyre, Little Women, and all of Jane Austen’s books early (and often!). And though we read a few books by authors of color throughout my school years, I, like many white people, had a blind spot into how white my reading list became.
So, last summer when I committed my year to the theme of “Educate and Expand”, I decided that one way I needed to expand my knowledge was by examining the books I read and actively diversifying my reading list.Continue reading