Tag Archives: reading

Read Harder is Harder Than I Expected

8 Sep

Earlier this year I posted about the Read Harder challenge. The goal of the challenge is to make you read more diversely and boy did I feel like I was doing a great job.  I read books in translation, books by authors from different countries, graphic novels, nonfiction, and still managed to keep up with books that I just wanted to read anyway.  I figured that putting any focus on reading diversely would expand my reading life. Proud of my accomplishments, I decided to take a quick inventory of the demographics of the authors I read.  I was expecting a pretty even distribution.  I didn’t get that.

While the ratio of men to women authors was split pretty evenly, of the 34 books I read so far this year, only six could be considered to be by authors of color.  And four of the authors of color were men.  That’s pretty shabby for someone actively trying to introduce diversity into her reading.  Sure, I’ve succeeded in pulling myself out of my literary comfort zone and I feel like that’s an accomplishment in itself, but I’m going to try harder the rest of the year.  That means that I’m putting aside the rest of the explicit Read Harder challenge (no worrying about reading a book written before 1850 or by an author under 25), but I’m going to take the spirit of the challenge to heart.  I want the majority of my reading the rest of the year to be by authors of color.

And I think it’s going to be harder than I anticipated.  I don’t think I’m going to get close to a 50/50 distribution, but if I can get a third of my year’s reading to be diverse that would be great.  I know it would be easier if I completely banished Anglo writers from the back half of 2015, but that’s not my goal.  I want to read a Stephen King book in October and after finishing We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, I want to start The Haunting of Hill House, too.  There are far too many awesome Anglo authors that have something unpredictable to add to my life to remove them.  I just want to make room for other voices as well.

So here’s to the next stage of my 2015 reading journey.  I’m currently reading Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai, a middle grade novel that takes place in Vietnam.  It’s taking me awhile because I keep stopping to figure out how to pronounce Vietnamese words.  That’s what reading diversely does.  Makes you look like a fool trying to pronounce things to yourself in public places.  I think I’ll keep it going.

~ April

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Earth Day: @ Your Library

4 Apr

Earth Day Banner

 

Since I suggested a television show last time, I want to round that off by directing you toward some literature.  There’s nothing greener, when it comes to reading, than using your library.  Sharing resources is key to the “Reduce” part of the equation and the whole point of libraries is to facilitate that.  If you love print books you probably already use your public library for that, but I’m a convert (well, 90% of one anyway) to ebooks.  Last year, I shared some services you may not know your library has, but I’m going to repeat one of them here.

If you’re looking for a way to quickly amp up your knowledge on the environment, I’d give your local library a try.  While every library will offer different books, here are a couple the Los Angeles Public Library has that I’m considering looking into this month.  You can get some of these books as audio versions, which is how I’ll be getting my green reading.  Print is being saved for Game of Thrones this month.

Invisible Nature by Kenneth Worthy – This book takes into consideration that most people do want to protect the environment, but also want all the conveniences of modern life.  Worthy puts the lifecycle of products into perspective by showing how our choices affect the environment.

The Last Great Sea by Terry Glavin – The North Pacific Ocean is the largest fishery in the world and integral to the survival of many species, including our own.  Covering science, anthropology and history, Glavin delves into the reasons this portion of the world is so fascinating.

The Nature Principle by Terry Louv – By now I hope you’ve read Louv’s Last Child in the Woods which introduced “nature deficit disorder”.  The Nature Principle details ways our society can continue to live more closely with nature.

Travels in Alaska by John Muir – Since I’ll be traveling to Alaska for the first time this year, I’m trying to find something as amazing as Sarah Vowell’s Unfamiliar Fishes, which I read when I went to Hawaii.  I didn’t know John Muir had a lot to do with Alaska and considering he’s such a superstar, I can’t wait to hear his reflections.

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene – String theory, The Big Bang, black holes… yeah, I totally understand that stuff.  According to the reviews, this book might at least get me started.  And if I love it there’s his books on parallel universes (The Hidden Reality) and the one on the nature of time and reality (The Fabric of the Cosmos).  That should keep me busy.

Search your library’s catalog for words like “environment”, “nature”, or “climate change”.  You can also try browsing the menu under nonfiction and looking at science, nature or sociology.

~April