27 February 2010
Yesterday I was floating through the blogosphere, and I came across a post entitled Reading in Colour at A Striped Armchair.
I am big fan of Eva from A Striped Armchair and do my best to keep up to date with it as much as I can. The reviews are great, the books are varied and their are interesting book related discussions.
If you have a chance, please read the post - I think it is something that all bloggers should think about.
Here is the link to the post: Reading in Colour.
In it, Eva discusses her self realisation that most of the books she was reading were by white authors. She discusses the privileges attached to being a white person's society and the white-washing of the blogosphere. NB: This is a very summarised version of her discussion, which does not do it at all justice given the depth of though Eva put into her post.
This inspired a lot of discussion as you imagine, and some of that discussion was around the issue of how authors who are people of colour would feel about people reading their books just because they are a person of colour. This in and of itself is another interesting issue for discussion, and Eva dealt with this by having a guest blogger, author Silvio Sirias, discuss how he feels about this issue.
Here is his post: Leisure Time and Reading in a Shrinking - Yet Colourful - World.
I am almost ashamed to say that I had never thought of my reading in the terms discussed in this post. Not once had I ever given thought to where the author was from. I thought that all the points raised by Eva in her discussion, especially in relation to the privileges attached to being white, were extremely valid.
She inspired me to see how many books I read were written by POC. I only started blogging towards the end of last year, so my 2009 book list only includes books from April 2009 onwards (that's a far back as I tried to remember), and even then, it only includes those books that I could remember reading, so it is a limited snapshot of what I read. Even so, a quick glance over it shows that I read only 8 of 43 books by authors who are POC, about 5% of my total remembered reading.
I make an effort to read Australian fiction, and yet none of these books were by Aboriginal authors.
It's not great. I mean, I read a lot of good books last year, but all the same. I can't help but agree with Eva that there is something to suggest that this imbalance can be attributed to those invisible barriers in society that enable white authors to come to greater prominence than those who are not.
I don't know that I am ready yet to come to some specific commitment to read a certain proportion of books written by POC as Eva has done, but this has very much given me cause to reflect upon my reading habits and hopefully create some change in the future.