Well, I’ve dropped the ball on posts for a few weeks. At the beginning of the month I started a new job and I’ve been adjusting to my new normal. But! Starting next Tuesday I will be back to my regular posting schedule and I will soon be adding other bookish and media related posts to my repertoire (so look out for those starting next Friday).
Now, onto the actual post.
I thought I should pop in with a quick mid-year update on my reading because I have managed to finish my reading goal for the year at 7 months in. Leading up to 2020 I had really not been reading much even though it is something I really enjoy, but executive dysfunction is a doozy, so I set my goal as relatively low at 50 books…and it turns out when I make things a bit of a competition against myself I go hog wild.
Here are my reading stats for the year so far:
- Total Pages: 17,759
- Total Books: 51
- Average Rating: 3.59
- LGBT MCs: 84%
- LGBT Authors: 68%
- POC MCs: 58%
- POC Authors: 29%
- Female Authors: 69%
- Non-Binary Authors: 27%
- Trans Authors: 2%
Pretty good, but I’m going to break down some of the points from above to talk about in a little more detail.
LGBT MCs and Authors
I have been predominantly reading queer books for the past few years and this has definitely gotten easier with a lot of new releases. I primarily read SFF, and science-fiction especially has a lot of queer female protagonists which is why I actually started reading the genre more in the first place.
The LGBT Authors category is where things go a little fuzzy – I think that this percentage is lower than the actual number, but I only include authors who are already out because I don’t want to assume someone’s sexuality or gender identity. There are a lot of question marks in my spreadsheet, maybe one day some of those numbers will be a little better solidified, but regardless, over 50% of the books I read have been written by LGBT authors.
So far this year, only 2% of the books I have have been by cis men. This isn’t very surprising to me because I shifted my reading to predominantly female authors 8 years ago when I was 18. If high school did anything for me, it was realizing I had no interest in reading more stories about and by cishet men. My goal is to keep this percentage below 10% for the rest of the year. There are so many vibrant, queer stories by LGBT women and non-binary authors. I don’t think I will run out of them anytime soon.
BIPOC/POC Authors and MCs
This is another category that can be a little difficult to keep track off. Because I read a lot of SFF, sometimes race isn’t super straightforward. How do we factor humanoid aliens or fantasy races into the calculation? Because of this there are some question marks in my spreadsheet. And of course, you have to consider the racialized stereotypes that form the basis of certain fantasy races (which is possibly a whole other post coming out one day).
And with regards to authors, this can be difficult question because you might not know someone’s ethnicity if they don’t share it publicly. Pictures only go so far because you never know who is mixed-race or otherwise white passing. I have a few authors who are a question mark in my spreadsheet because of this.
But, this is definitely an area I would like to improve in my reading. I am going to read all of the books I already own on my TBR, which is still a lot of white authors. I’d like to diversify my shelf more, and this is a goal going forward when I am purchasing books, but part of the problem is also partially what is available from mainstream publishers in queer SFF. The same few books by POC authors get tossed around on social media, but I’m sure that there are more that slip under the radar and I would love to give them a chance.
I guess now is the time to decide how many more books to add to my 2020 reading goal, since 50 was clearly not enough. If you want to help me diversify my bookshelf, what are some of your favourite LGBT SFF books by authors of colour?
This year I have already read The Deep, Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, A Taste of Honey, Phoenix Extravagant (with plans to read The Machineries of Empire series), Escaping Exodus, the Tensorate Series, The Tiger Flu, The Warrior Moon, The City We Became, Freshwater, The Empress of Salt and Fortune, and How Much of These Hills is Gold.