Hmm, what shall I read this year?

Every so often discussions about “white straight male privilege” cross my radar and I once again find myself examining my own assumptions and practices.

Most recently, the following blog post appeared in my facebook feed and resonated with me:

I Challenge You to Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year

(For the uninitiated, ‘cis’ refers to cisgender, which is when an individual’s experiences of their own gender match the sex they were assigned at birth, i.e. the opposite of transgender. I had to look it up.)

aww-badge-2015-200x300The post got me thinking again about the Australian Women Writers Challenge, which I attempted in 2013. I failed that year, owing to poor general reading habits, but as regular readers of this blog will know I well and truly got back into novels last year.

I could have totally nailed the AWW challenge (which requires one to read books by Australian women authors and post book reviews) last year. So I’ve decided to sign up for it this year instead. This year I will not fail.

My pledge is to read six books by Australian women and review four of them.

I’m fairly certain I’ll read more than six (I’ve read four already); but, knowing how long it takes to write a decent review, I think it wiser not to over-commit on the review side of things.

In general, I already read a lot of women authors. Most of the fantasy I read is by women, and I don’t see this changing much.

Moreover, contemplating diversity in general, last year’s reading extravaganza took me to several places I hadn’t been before… So if I want to diversify some more, I need to look at authors with different cultural backgrounds. Challenge accepted!

I’m not going to deliberately boycott books by white straight cis male authors, but there’s a strong chance I won’t read any regardless. I don’t think I did last year.

In any case, it feels good to have some new reading goals. A new focus. I’ve been floundering a bit this month, trying to decide WHAT to choose out of a gazillion possibilities.

Stay tuned for this year’s adventure in books!

6 comments

  1. I’m looking forward to seeing what you read and review. I’m always interested in discovering more speculative fiction written by women, and as far as I know, Lian Hearn is the only author I’ve read who’s Australian (even if she was actually born in Britain and moved to Australia later).

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    1. Hey Mike – there are a LOT of Australian women writing fantasy. In fact most of Australia’s successful fantasy writers are women. I think I already recommended Alison Goodman’s Eon (and Eona) to you… They are right up your alley, being fantasy inspired by Chinese mythology. You should check them out.

      Another author you may like is Kylie Chan, who writes contemporary Chinese-mythology based urban fantasy (with gods, martial arts and demons!) set in Hong Kong. The first is White Tiger.

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      1. That’s right, you sure did, and I even have it in my Amazon wish list dedicated to Kindle books. Clearly I need to buy more books if my wish list is getting so big that I’m losing track of what’s actually in there.

        And thanks for reminding me about Kylie Chan. I was actually thinking of her recently but couldn’t remember her name 😦

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  2. I was only thinking about this issue the other day. Once I’ve cleared my to-read pile I was thinking of doing some sort of reading challenge to diversify away from those pesky white male writers (does that make me part of the problem?). Thanks for reminding me about it, Ellen!

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    1. “once I’ve cleared my TBR pile”… you can do that? I’m impressed! (heh)

      But yes, it’s always good to challenge ourselves. I hope you find some good stuff to read! (I don’t think you have to be Australian to sign up for the AWW challenge…)

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