Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Reading Wrap-Up

August is (just about) over so it's time for another reading wrap-up. Before I get into the stats I wanted to a) direct you over to another awesome blog post and b) write my own two-cents about the topic.

Greg over at The New Dork Review wrote a post responding to an op-ed piece written by Robin Black. Black is angry at President Obama for not reading enough female authors. There's some ranting and raving and the tone  suggests that if Obama and other men would just read some lady authors then there would be no more war or AIDS or having to wake up early when all you want to do is sleep. As I said, Greg wrote a great post responding to this and he sums it up nicely: We read for fun, not to be fair. This is true and content is king. Please keep that in mind for the next paragraph: content is king.

However, I clearly think there is some importance to the author's gender, race, nationality, etc or I would track all that stuff. It is important to break out of your literary comfort zone and read without a safety net. If all you ever read are male authors, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to read something by a woman. Now, very importantly, this doesn't mean read just anything. Because to suggest reading any book by a woman author implies that they're all the same. Since I'm not a hack comedian from the early '90s, I'm not going to tell you "women write like this" and "men write like this". Writers are naturally going to bring their own experiences to their writing. Whether you believe that men and women are from different planets or that men and women are exactly the same and any differences are just a societal construct, the fact is being different means they are going to have different experiences and thus bring a different point of view to their writing. This isn't just for the author's gender, but also race, religion, ethnicity, anything. This doesn't mean you have to have a perfectly balanced cross-section of authors. All you have to do is decide for yourself what's your comfort zone and what's outside of it. But above everything else, read what's good regardless of who wrote it. Content. Is. King.

Now, stats time!
Number of books read

Total pages read

Percentage of fiction read

Percentage of female authors

Percentage of white authors

Percentage of US authors

Percentage of eBooks

Percentage of re-reads

Books written by decade
1990s - 40%
2000s - 60%

Not a lot of variety this month. At least not in those stats, although 2 of the books I read, Hogdoggin' and Tokyo Vice are ones I probably would not have picked up on my own. So some variety, not a lot of diversity. Whoops.