You are hopefully already convinced of the importance of diversity in your reading choices.
With the upheaval of the past year, there has been a long-overdue public conversation on how crucial it is to listen to those that have been excluded. Antiracist books and reading lists have been a part of this conversation, as is recognition of the traditionally white-dominated nature of the publishing industry.
Now, we are all tasked with finding ways to carry inclusion forward in our own lives. Here are five simple steps you can take to create lasting change in your own reading by finding new authors to love:
- Figure out what you love about the books you love. You may already know. Are there common characteristics in the books you’ve enjoyed? Maybe it’s a specific genre or a just a small section of it. If you love mysteries, try to see what kind. Police procedurals, cozy mysteries, noir? For a quick primer on common genres, see A Reader’s Guide to the Different Book Genres at Book Riot.
- Search (Google) for authors that write that type of book, but are not white, straight, and cis-gendered. Look for authors that are from marginalized groups, such as POC, those living with disabilities, addictions, or homelessness.
- Make a list of these authors and titles.
- Starting with the one that looks most interesting, read online reviews, or find it at your local library. If it’s not for you, that’s ok.
Hopefully, you will find something in a genre you already like. Often, truly amazing authors aren’t given the attention and marketing they deserve, compared to their white counterparts. If you can’t find one, be mad about it. Then begin again from Step 1.
If you need ideas, start with books by Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC). It’s important, though, to make sure the list you choose was compiled by someone with the lived experience represented by books.
However you go about it, personalize it fully. The important thing is to gradually change your own habits to build a life that acknowledges and embraces all the experiences of all the wonderful people in our world.