Why reading about people who look different than you matters

So I was listening to a really interesting episode of Annotated, a BookRiot Podcast, about The Baby Sitters Club. They had so many interesting things to say, and I highly recommend it if you’re a 90s kid and a podcast listener. But one of the things that got me really thinking was when they started talking about Claudia and representation.

Pre-BSC (and honestly, post-BSC too) it was unusual for minority readers, especially young minority readers, to see themselves in a book character. This episode of Annotated talked at length about the benefit of that, which I won’t go into much detail about here because so many other bloggers have said it so eloquently before.

But while I was listening, I really got to thinking about my favorite book series from the 90s. I was a BSC fan like anyone else, but my absolute favorite series was Animorphs. I know, you’re not shocked. I’ve only talked about it like, a million times. And if you’re thinking about what the folks on Annotated were talking about with Claudia, it’s really cool that so many young, black girls got to see themselves reflected in the character of Cassie. But here’s the thing.

I absolutely identified with Cassie too.

Continue reading “Why reading about people who look different than you matters”

More Religious Characters, Please

Today I’m going to talk about something that a lot of people are going to disagree with me about. This is something that has been quietly bothering me for some time, but came to a head in recent months, and I hope you’ll give me a chance to have my say.

There’s a lot of talk about representation in literature. Most often in 2019 we talk about diversity in terms of race/ethnicity and sexuality, however there is a growing movement calling for positive representation of mental health and people with disabilities. You don’t hear much about diversity in terms of religion. And if you do, you expect to hear about Muslim characters.

However, I am here to tell you, friends, that in 21st century literature, religious characters are highly underrepresented.

Continue reading “More Religious Characters, Please”

Don’t Judge a Blogger by their Cover

 

I’m kind of obsessive sometimes. See Turtles All the Way Down for an extreme version of my brain. Anyway, sometimes I read something that bugs me and I just can’t. Stop. Thinking. About it. It’s not like I’m getting mad or holding a grudge or anything, it’s just like this annoying pestering itch that I won’t go away no matter how much I scratch.

A few months ago I read a tweet that said something like “If I see a blogger that only reviews books about cis people I just can’t take them seriously.” At first I thought, Okay, fine, you’re entitled to your opinion I guess. But then, like I do, I kept thinking about it. And the more I thought about it the more annoyed I become.

Because if you were just to glance at someone’s blog you might think they don’t read any books with LGBTQ rep. But maybe they do! They might not be as widely recognized as, say, Simon vs. the Homo Sapians Agenda, but they’re there.

Continue reading “Don’t Judge a Blogger by their Cover”

Male vs. Female Authors on my Bookshelf

male vs female authors

Every couple of months or so some well-intentioned woman or ally shows up in my feed and tells me that I need to purposefully choose books by female authors, otherwise my own subconscious gender-bias will cause me to mostly read books by men. Or, a variation, that since the industry is gender-biased I would by default end up reading more books by men. Normally I completely disregard these posts. I can not usually be bothered to look at the name of an author before I choose a book. I read what sounds interesting, and a lot of the times when I’m done and writing my review I find myself digging for the book and saying “Who was the author again???” It’s unlikely that I will change this habit that I’ve been building since I was in elementary school when I would literally walk up and down the aisles with my eyes closed to pick a book at random. (I do NOT recommend this as a book-choosing method as I rarely found books I enjoyed.) Sorry, not sorry.

Most recently, however, someone directly aimed a comment at me telling me personally that I needed to be intentional. This person, I happened to know, reviews mostly young adult books. I couldn’t help but sigh and roll my eyes. If there’s one genre I’m confident I’m reading PLENTY of books by women in, it’s young adult.

Which got me thinking. I mentally went through my bookshelf and thought of my favorite books. The more I thought, the more it seemed to my brain that I actually read MORE books by women. I’m sure that’ not the case, it’s probably closer to 50/50, but it really got me wondering.

So I thought it might be fun to actually go count. Continue reading “Male vs. Female Authors on my Bookshelf”