The only downside to working at Lopez Bookshop is that at the end of each shift I feel a bit blue—and overwhelmed—about all the books I want to read and haven’t gotten to yet. And knowing that the next week, there will be another stack of New Arrivals calling out to me. There’s a reason the truism “So Many Books, So Little Time” emblazons t-shirts, tote bags, and coffee mugs.
With limited time for “pleasure” reading, I have to settle on just a few titles every month or so. I recently joined a book club for the first time, and that takes care of one selection. Recently I started following the blog Reading Diversely by Lopez Island native Emma Ewert (now transplanted to Montana). In her blog’s introduction, avid reader Emma notes that last year her reading habits started to shift, “…consciously choosing to read books written by women, or people of color, people from other non-European countries, or people from other typically marginalized groups.”
Despite the reality that male writers are published in far greater numbers than women writers, and that white authors dominate the literary world, Emma created an enormous book list of diverse authors she’s read since she began this challenge in April 2017.
It might take me the rest of my life to read all of the books on Emma’s shelf as of today, not to mention all the other fine titles she’ll undoubtedly continue to add. But I’m grateful to have her recommendations to help with the tough choice of what to read next.
I have a suggestion for all of you, and for Emma, that meets her list of criteria for diverse reading. As soon as I finish this post, I’ll return to a book I’ve just begun (and can hardly put down)—A Tear in the Soul by Australian author Amanda Webster. The memoir relates Amanda’s personal journey to uncover her own racism, and that of generations of Australians, toward Aboriginals, and to move toward reconciliation and friendship.
What diverse reading have you done lately?
*Afterthoughts are my blog version of a practice followed in some Quaker meetings. After meeting for worship ends, people continue in silence for a few more minutes during which they’re invited to share thoughts or reflect on the morning’s worship. I’ve adopted the form here for last-day-of-the-month brief reflections on headlines, quotes, books, previous posts, maybe even bumper stickers.