Examining my bookshelves

stack_of_books2So this is my first meta-post reading. I have been listing to a lot of discussions about diversity as of late – which is awesome, eye opening and thought provoking. So I decided to take long hard look at my own bookshelves. In particular what I have over the last year. I decided to only look at books because I read a lot of short stories and comics over the last year, but I am still new to reading both so I don’t think I am quite to the point of having any patterns yet. I know I read a LOT of books by women with female protagonists. But how many books do I read that are written by non-whites, non-westerns, non-middle class and/or quiltbag authors? I might not look at all of those today, but lets see how this goes. Are all of the protagonists abled bodied young people? Well lets take a closer look… 

I count an author only once even though I read multiple books by that person. I am going by the info on the authors on GoodReads so if that is wrong or if the info isn’t apparent there, I will get things wrong, but I am not in the mood for doing research on all 24 authors right this minute. I am also only counting books that I finished, I don’t always finish the books I start but I never count those unfinished books, then I think about what I have read.

These are the authors I read books by this year: Tamora Pierce, Meljean Brook, Laurell K. Hamilton, Seanan McGuire, Diana Rowland, Ben Aaronovitch, Neil Gaiman, Richelle Mead, Ian Tregillis, Philippa Ballantine, Tee Morris, Sophie Oak, Patricia A. Knight, Jacqueline Carey, Kaitlyn O’Connor, Shelly Laurenston, Saskia Walker, Susanne Alleyn, Nalini Singh, Jim C. Hines, Faith Hunter, Kim Harrison, Gail Carriger & John H. McWhorter

Lets start with the male/female divide in authorship as it is the easiest to look at.
Male authors: 6
Female authors: 18
That means that 75% of what I read was written by women. I told my boyfriend this and his comment was, “Isn’t that how that works?”, lets just say no… and if I look more historical at my own reading that would also be a no.

Ok how about white/poc authors?
White:  20
PoC:  2
Undisclosed: 1
Now I find that a bit scary. Why am I almost only reading white people. I should probably try to get some people from a wider cultural diverse authorship onto my reading list. I know if I included the short fiction I have read this year it is less mono-cutural but that still mean that my novel-reading is a rather “safe”.

Lets look at the protagonists instead. First male or female? Where I read multiple books in a series, each protagonist is only counted once.
Male:  3
Female: 10
Mixed – multiple points of view: 12
Transgender: 0

Straight : 23
Quiltbag: 1
Mixed – multiple points of view:  1

The strait people seems to be dominating the list of protagonists. I know if I started counting supporting cast of the books there would be more quiltbag characters showing up. I have read a LOT of romance this year and that definitely shows in these statistic s. There are more straight people in romance than what I would normally read and there are more books with both a male and female protagonist. There are also way too many alpha males for my liking in romance books. I don’t mind not having many books with a female point of view, but I want to read more books with quiltbag characters in the lead role – sadly none of my favourite authors are casting quilt characters for as protagonists. Every single protagonist has been able-bodied but finding genre novels where that is not the case is really hard – so far I have not run into any good or otherwise. With very few exceptions (Battlemagic I am looking at you) all the of the protagonists are under forty and most are under thirty – so that is definitely another bias in my reading.

This year has had less serious books than what I read last year, mainly because I was working in the spring and was reading a lot of book candy – mainly long series – one of them ten books long. That ate up a lot of my reading time. I have also experimented with reading short stories and comics this year which I am very happy about. Both types of fiction also open up my horisont to new authors and more divers subjects and protagonists. They also make me experiment with reading genre I would not normally read. This year has been very much about comfort reading when I have read novels. When I have felt more adventurous I have read something other than novels so that of course does not show up in my statistic here because I designed them so it didn’t. However I need to take some of that adventurous spirit into my novel reading and pick up books by more divers authors and about more divers characters because I want to widen my reading experience. I of course still want room in my reading time to read the follow ups of series I am already reading.

If I thought I had any readership yet, I would ask what you are reading, but I will be happy when I get more than 10 people reading anything on here.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.