We Need Diverse Books

#BOUTOFBOOKS 20 Master Post

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It’s Bout of Books time! Bout of Books is a week-long, no-pressure readathon internet party and you can still sign up here. This is going to be a sticky post where I update everyday, plus I’ll be all over Twitter, Instagram, Litsy, and Snapchat – SarahSaysRead is my user name on everything. If you have questions about Bout of Books, please feel free to ask me – since I’ve done it a ton of times I’ve been dubbed an Expert, so I’m here to help you out and cheer you along!

 

I’m doing something a little different this time, in that I’m “reading for charity”. I’m going to donate 5 cents for every page I read, and 50 cents for every comic I read. The money is going to be split because I couldn’t decide, so 50% will go to a local classroom and 50% will go to We Need Diverse Books. This is not a BoB requirement by any means, I just thought it’d be cool to do on my own. If I had planned it better I would’ve had people “sponsor” my reading for donations but I literally decided to do this like 3 days ago, so.

Now to the super fun part!

THE BOOKS

  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (Kindle)
  • Let Us Dream by Alyssa Cole (Kindle)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  • The Entropy of Bones by Ayize Jama-Everett
  • Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
  • America #3-5
  • Ms. Marvel #20-21
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #18-21
  • Bitch Planet Triple Feature #1-2
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #22-23

THE GOALS

  • Finish at least 2 books
  • Read at least 700 pages
  • Read at least 10 comics
  • Join in on at least 1 Twitter chat
  • Socialize on social media a bunch
  • Do at least one mini-challenge
  • Have fun!

THE UPDATES – (I’m using a slightly modified version of the Bout of Books template)

Monday
Number of pages I’ve read today: 75
Total number of books I’ve read: 0
Books I read from: Their Eyes Were Watching God & The Entropy of Bones
#todayinsixwords: Distracted but not a bad start!

I read before work, read on my lunch at work, and then got home and it all went downhill from there. My mom stopped by, then the husband got home from the gym, then we had to eat dinner… I read for a bit before the Twitter chat at least. (And the chat was a blast, as usual!)

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Monday

Tuesday
Number of pages I’ve read today: 84
Total number of books I’ve read: 0
Books I read from: Their Eyes Were Watching God & The Entropy of Bones
#todayinsixwords: Reading before work is going well.

For BoB, I’ve been waking up like 15 minutes earlier, showering, and then sitting in my bathrobe with some coffee and reading for 25-30 minutes before I get dressed and go on with my day. I might try to keep this up even after BoB, because it’s a nice, quiet way to start my morning. On a separate note, I have family in town (kind of a surprise) so it through me off yesterday evening.

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Tuesday

Wednesday
Number of pages I’ve read today: 50
Total number of books I’ve read: 0
Books I read from: The Entropy of Bones
#todayinsixwords: I am seriously behind in sleep.

Was already tired and then had to go to a friend’s house after work and was there much later than intended. I’m beat today.

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Wednesday

Thursday
Number of pages I’ve read today: 0
Total number of books I’ve read: 0
Books I read from: *sob*
#todayinsixwords: So exhausted, busy, tired… I don’t even have six words.

I stayed up too late several days in a row and it caught up with me, plus work was so busy I didn’t even take a lunch. But that’s okay, because I’m using a vacation day today (Friday) and I’m going to read my ass off.

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Thursday

Friday
Number of pages I’ve read today: 148
Total number of books I’ve read: 2
Books I read from: The Entropy of Bones and Their Eyes Were Watching God
#todayinsixwords: So glad I used vacation day.

I used a vacation day on Friday so I could stay home and read. Sadly, the day flew by but I did get to read outside in the sun for a bit. Then friends came over for game night, but now I have all weekend to read more!

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Friday

Saturday
Number of pages I’ve read today: 167
Total number of books I’ve read: 2
Books I read from: The Fifth Season
#todayinsixwords: Why am I so dang tired?

I started The Fifth Season and read a big chunk of it throughout the day, but I was sleepy ALL DAY. Also, my nephew came over to stay the night so that sucked up some time and energy later on.

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Saturday

Sunday
Number of pages I’ve read today: 150
Total number of books I’ve read: 2
Books I read from: The Fifth Season
#todayinsixwords: Trying to read while avoiding nephew.

JK I love my nephew, but also yeah I definitely tried to keep him occupied with TV and video games while I read. That plan kind of fell apart later in the day when my mom came over too and I had to cook dinner and stuff. On the plus side I’m over 60% into The Fifth Season and it’s awesome!

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Sunday

 

WRAP-UP

  • 2 books finished: The Entropy of Bones and Their Eyes Were Watching Good
  • 2 comics read: Ms. Marvel #20-21
  • 674 pages read (dang, so close to my goal of 700)
  • I did the Saturday Twitter chat which was awesome, but in general I didn’t get to socialize around online as much as I was hoping. I’m really psyched I got so far into The Fifth Season,

Okay, so at 5 cents per page and 50 cents per comic, that’s $34.70 (rounding to $36) that I’m donating! $18 to We Need Diverse Books and $18 to a local classroom. Receipts:

 

I hope everyone had a blast this week! I love Bout of Books because I feel like I made SO much progress reading in just one week. How did you do?

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2016: Wrapping It Up, Thank Goodness

Happy New Year’s Eve! 2016 is finally over (finally!) and now I can do the fun stuff, like dive deep into data about my reading and book-buying and stuff.

I’m pretty excited about my Top Ten Favorite Books of 2016, because man they were stunning.

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  1. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  2. The Mothers by Brit Bennett
  3. Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
  4. Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole
  5. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  6. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  7. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  8. Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
  9. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
  10. Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Narrowing down my top ten felt extra hard this year, which is why I did a Top Five Runner-Ups post. And I don’t know if I’ve ever had romance in my top five before, but I read some exceptional ones this year.

So, my reading goals for last year were mostly the same as the year before:

  1. Read 50% non-white authors.
  2. Buy more books / spend more dollars on non-white authors.
  3. Maintain roughly 50% gender stats

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Another one of my goals was also for 75% of my reading to come from my own shelves or Scribd, and I failed horribly at that, so let’s just move on now.

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So, a couple notes:

  • I read fewer books and fewer comics this year than in 2015, which is a bummer. I’m pretty sure I read so many fewer comics (501 in 2015) because I read hardly any digital ones this year. I got rid of Scribd earlier in the year when they changed with model again, and I didn’t get Marvel Unlimited until November. And this was just a really busy year, so I’m not surprised the number of books I read decreased. I’m actually surprised it only decreased by 5.
  • I tried to go on a book-buying ban for 6 months, and that failed and backfired. I ended up buying about 60 more books this year than the year before.
  • My page count is actually higher than last year – probably because I re-read the first four Outlander books this year.

So we all know that 2016 was a garbage fire for many, many reasons, but I do want to point out a couple awesome things that happened for me this year:

  • Got married to the honeyman!
  • Visited Washington, DC for the first time.
  • Went to Book Riot Live! (This was also one of my 2016 goals, woohoo!)
  • Moved to a bigger apartment.
  • Got two new tattoos (vault symbol and arrow – the arrow is the only thing my family could agree on when we decided to get a matching tattoo)

So, even though 2016 sucked on a massive, general scale – I had lots of good things going on.

And now, I have some pretty simple goals for 2017.

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All right you guys. Have a wonderful night tonight, and let’s go into 2017 positive and determined to kick ass!

Happy New Year!

2015: Those Delicious Book Stats and More

My absolute favorite thing about the end of a year is the lists and the data. Let’s start with the easy stuff- my 10 favorite books of the year.

best of 2015

  1. Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed (edited) by Meghan Daum
  2. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  3. Salsa Nocturna by Daniel Jose Older
  4. PRO: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt
  5. The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
  6. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
  7. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
  8. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
  9. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
  10. Missoula by Jon Krakauer

It was really hard to narrow down my favorites. I didn’t read as much non-fiction as I wanted to this year, but most of the non-fiction that I did read was great. It’s fun to see that two books I read on audio made it on the list (Modern Romance and Tiny Beautiful Things). I think there would have been more non-fiction or audiobooks on the list, except that I slowed down on listening to audiobooks when the muffler came off my car near the end of the year and it became too loud to listen and focus on them while driving. (I should probably get that fixed soon.)

Now on to the meaty stuff!

Here were my bookish goals for 2015:

  1. Read 50% non-white authors.
  2. Buy more books / spend more dollars on non-white authors.
  3. Maintain roughly 50% gender stats

And I succeeded!

 

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I’m glad to see that I utilized subscription services in a decent way – they accounted for about 20% of my book AND comic reading. Go Scribd! Totally worth that $9 per month!

My book spending data was really interesting – I bought slightly more books by female authors than male authors (55 vs 52), but spent more total on male authors than female authors ($124.43 more on male authors). I think this is partly because of my preference for non-fiction (ESPECIALLY science non-fiction) in paper rather than e-book. And unfortunately, the majority of science non-fiction is written by dudes. I’m going to make it a point to seek out more science non-fiction by women and POC next year.

My goals for 2016 are pretty simple.

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I think that wraps up this year pretty nicely.

Happy New Year!

~Sarah

2015 Reading Goal – Read More Non-White Authors

You guys. I did this last year, remember? I looked at my current-year reading stats, was horrified by them, and declared that I wanted to read more books by women and more books by non-white authors. Well, let’s see how I did (looking at January through November). For the sake of simplicity, I’m not counting comics in these stats. Let’s look at the books.

57 books read 

26 were by men, 31 were by women

46 were by white authors, 11 were by non-white authors 

Well shit.

Alright, so I did better with reading the ladies than I thought – although my Outlander and HP re-reads are in there, so that’s really two ladies and I’ve already read them before, but still.

My diversity stats are ATROCIOUS. What the hell happened? I actually have a good idea of how… I wasn’t paying attention. When I look at my spreadsheet, I can actually see that I stopped really paying attention in March – right after I switched to a new, very demanding position at work. This is in no way an excuse – I’m mad at hell at myself, for letting a busy schedule get in the way of me being aware of what I was choosing to read.

Well that just sucks. So here we go again for 2015. I’m going to try to maintain my roughly 50% gender stats, and I’m going to aim for roughly 50% non-white authors.

And in the spirit of actually making more of an effort, I’ve been making a list of non-white authors.

  • Michio Kaku
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Sharon Draper
  • Alice Walker
  • Octavia Butler
  • Ralph Ellison
  • Toni Morrison
  • Meg Medina
  • Benjamin Law
  • Zadie Smith
  • Gene Luen Yang
  • Jason Mott
  • Jacqueline Woodson
  • Nnedi Okorafor
  • N.K. Jemisin
  • Ishmael Beah
  • Teju Cole
  • Karen Lord
  • Helen Oyeyemi
  • Walter Mosely
  • Jesmyn Ward
  • Cynthia Bond
  • Amy Tan
  • Ruth Ozeki
  • Saul Williams
  • Roxane Gay
  • Samantha Irby
  • Sherman Alexie
  • Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Saladin Ahmed
  • M.K. Asante
  • Maya Angelou
  • ?

If you’d like to suggest anyone to add to this list, feel free. I have it handwritten out in a notebook that I usually have on me, so I can refer to it at the library or when I’m bookstore browsing.

I’m also adding a secondary goal – spend more dollars on non-white authors than white authors this year. I haven’t tracked my book purchases in a couple years, so this will suck. BUT I want to make sure I’m using the small power I have as a consumer to show that I care about diversity. I can’t wait to see those stats this time next year. And while I think the indiegogo campaign for We Need Diverse Books is over now, I’m going to try to continue supporting them whenever I can. It IS something that I care about – and I’m going to prove it, if to no one other than myself, in 2015. I can’t wait to get started.

~Sarah