When I first started tracking my reading stats, I was consciously trying to make sure I read works by more than just cis-, white, hetero authors.
But over the last year or so, I’ve gotten lazy.
Admittedly, I’ve always been hindered by what’s available through my library’s audiobook app (since that’s where I get most of my reading material), but over the last year I gave up on searching for books I’d seen recommended online, and instead just picked whatever came up on Libby that sounded vaguely interesting.
And they were overwhelmingly by cis-, white, hetero (at least as far as I could tell from their bios) authors.
Part of it may be that I was going through a cozy mystery phase, and that genre is depressingly white – many of the books I read had no characters of color at all. (In fact, I read a twitter thread this month pointing out that the genre basically has to be white because a BIPOC character could not get away with defying the police, and skirting or breaking laws the way the white main characters do.)
Even worse, the cozy mysteries I read that *did* feature BIPOC characters (especially if they had historical settings) often contained everything from (hopefully unintentional) microaggressions to outright racism. I DNF’d more than a few books, and have a running “never read again” list of the most egregious authors.
On top of that, the quality of the books I’ve read in the last year has been…not great. I couldn’t even come up with a decent recommendations list out of my own reading list last year (instead I passed along recommendations for children’s books from my circle of fellow writers.)
Sadly, it took the recent protests over racial inequality to wake me up to the injustices I’ve been doing, not only to BIPOC and other marginalized authors, but to my own reading enjoyment.
After only three weeks of making an effort to select recommended books, the quality of my reading has skyrocketed. (It helps that since I’m not spending much “fun” money during the pandemic, *and* I want to support bookstores and authors, I can justify actually buying books – even if it takes me longer to read physical books.)
So, if you’ve know of a great book by a marginalized author, let me know in the comments – especially if it happens to be a cozy mystery.
And if you’re looking for a great book to read, check out Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (YA Contemporary) and A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown (YA Fantasy), my two favorite reads of the month so far.