We All Need Diverse Books

Back in April, the hashtag #weneeddiversebooks took Twitter by storm. (This is the first tweet using it, and you can check out the official web site as well.) And while looking through it, I realized that I wanted to actively change my reading habits because oh my goodness I read a lot of stuff written by cisgender, white folks (pretty evenly split between men and women) who are from the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

Changing my reading habits has taken three main forms so far:

  1. Backed the Crossed Genres magazine Kickstarter campaign, and now get monthly delivery of stories that “give a voice to people often ignored or marginalized in SFF”.
  2. Began to only check out library books by women authors for my pleasure reading. Since the end of February, I’ve read 31 books, 28 of which were written by women.
  3. Deliberately am seeking out books written by women of color, transgender women, and women from countries other than the US/UK/Canada/Australia, and about people whose life experiences are different from mine. So far I haven’t read too widely (thanks concussion (and Twitter) for my lack of attention span these days) but so far I have read several books that fit the bill wonderfully:

In addition, I’m expanding my genres of reading from only fantasy and novels, to include graphic novels and short stories as well.

Are you looking to expand your reading habits to include more diversity in authors and characters? You might check out some of these lists for places to start:

Check out the We Need Diverse Books web site and Tumblr.

#WeNeedDiverseBooks

Now tell me: what is YOUR favorite diverse book or series, and who are your go-to diverse authors? As you can tell, I’m open to all suggestions!

24. Read a romance novel

I tried. I really did. I scoured through all sorts of romance books at Target and at the public library. And I honestly couldn’t pick any of them up without wanting to … well, they just weren’t going to get read. We’ll leave it at that. So I sat and I thought. And then I sat and thought some more. And then I remembered that the author of one of the knitblogs I read had recently published a book, and she mentioned that she went to RWA to promote it. RWA? Romance Writers of America… Bingo!

The day after I got the book at the library, I had a pretty bad day (migraine – ugh!) and slept all afternoon. That meant that by midnight, I was wide awake and not ready for sleep. I picked up How to Knit a Love Song, started reading, finally got tired, and didn’t put the book down until 3 hours later when I was done with it. It was pretty great, not what I was expecting from a romance novel. Thanks Rachel!

What I’ve Been Up To – February Edition

Playing with:

Amy and I received some money for Christmas and we’d been trying to figure out what to splurge on. One day I sent her an email asking, “Should we get a Wii?” I think you could have knocked her over with a feather she was so surprised. Needless to say, I’m not much into gaming and actually made her put her old-school Nintendo system out in the garage when we bought the house. But we got the Wii and so far I’m really enjoying our one game (the one that comes with it) with tennis, bowling, and baseball. In a few months we’ll probably splurge a little more and get the Wii Fit. I’ve heard such good things about it. Do you have any experience with it? Worth it?

wii

Visting:

We went to Cabo San Lucas, Baja, Mexico with my parents and Amy’s parents! It was wonderfully fun and although I wasn’t sick of winter before we left, I sure am now. You can see all my photos at Flickr. A few of my favorite memories:

  • eating my body weight in guacamole
  • snorkeling at Chileno Bay where we saw all sorts of amazing fish including a moon wrasse and several king angelfish
  • whale watching from our patio
  • four flat tires at the airport

moon wrasse kingangel

Photos courtesy Richard Ling (license) and laszlo-photo (license) on Flickr, under Creative Commons licenses.

Reading:

Neil Gaiman. How have I never read anything by him other than his collaborative Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett) before? He’s an amazing storyteller. On vacation I read Anansi Boys and The Graveyard Book.

Other Stuff:

I’ve been doing lots of other stuff too (hockey, soccer, LWD – living with dogs, and working) and will probably write about some of those things at some point. I’ve also got a post brewing about useful software products for undergraduates (or other folks) who want to stop using so much paper. It involves things like Zotero and Evernote, but oh so much more…. Stay tuned!

Reading: Magazines Are Taking Over My Life

I have a bit of a problem. It’s that I’m apparently the target demographic for a certain set of magazines, and at one time or another I’ve subscribed to most of them.

Yes, I’m the 30-something middle-class female homeowner who is the target market for:

Every month my mailbox fills up and I get stressed about reading all of the magazines which come in. I’ve not renewed any of them for next year; trying to decide which I like best requires more effort than I’ve been willing to spend on it until now.

 dominobody + soulready made

So with that, I think I’m going to let Domino, Body + Soul, and ReadyMade lapse, and am going to re-up on MSL, Real Simple, and Blueprint. We’ll see if having half the home magazines around next year causes less stress for me.

martha stewart livingreal simpleblueprint

Anyone want to buy a near-complete run of ReadyMade (issues 3, 5-31)? The rest of my magazines I cannibalize and recycle….

Reading, Listening, Watching #1

Sleeping with the Fishes book coverReading: Sleeping with the Fishes by Mary Janice Davidson.

I have read and enjoyed most of Mary Janice Davidson’s Sookie Stackhouse Betsy Taylor Vampire Queen novels, and decided to pick up something else of hers. Brief reviews I’ve read don’t bode well for this one, but I’m willing to reserve judgment for a few more chapters.

Team of Rivals book coverOn deck: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Last week I was in Seattle at the Educause conference, and Goodwin was the opening keynote speaker. Her 75-minute long speech, given without notes and without stopping for a drink of water, was on the theme of Lincoln and leadership. I was blown away, as were the other 5000+ people in the audience. She’s truly amazing, and I can’t wait to get to this big tome.

World Cafe: Next from WXPN logoListening: World Cafe: Next from WXPN.

I downloaded several podcasts from WXPN for my flight to Seattle. Ever since we moved to Boston, I’ve acutely missed XPN (as well as Clark Park, the tofu hoagies from Fu-Wah, the Philadelphia Freeze, Cherry St. Pub, and my friends). But with the wonderful world of podcasting I can get a taste of XPN on my ipod and listen when I’m not near a computer.

NESN logoWatching: NHL hockey – Boston Bruins on NESN and NHL Hockey on VS.

VS logoWhat can I say? I’m hooked. It’s a good thing we can’t actually get the Center Ice package since we’ve got FiOS and they don’t appear to carry it yet. But if they do carry it next year, I may have to get it for Amy as a present. Because presents like that are fun when you can share them!

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