December 22, 2016
I’m going to admit it–I buy more books than I can read. Used books, particularly. For the past year I’ve been quietly collecting used books written by womxn of color, with the hope of finishing it before I spend $4 on another used book. So far, most have yet to be read, and honestly, they’re usually in the form of decorative props throughout the house–which you know, is kind of ironic for womxn of color? Yes? No?
In an attempt to hold myself accountable for reading more books, and to redirect my energy from intellectual/emotional/physical/mental labor, I asked a couple of close friends and folks on social media if they wanted to participate in a reading challenge. After a super quick Google search to gather ideas, I was super disappointed. Most of the 2017 reading challenges I’ve searched on Pinterest have great ideas, like this one, this one, and this one from 2015. Yet, none focused specifically on the narratives, voices, and wealth of womxn of color authors. In this day and age, I want to hear less from “best-selling” (whose criteria anyway??) White men writing about anything they think they’re the experts of (ahem), and more from the badass womxn of color who are the foundations for change.
So there is a gap. Let’s build a stronger structure.
- Calling all folks who want to read more books, and stay woke, in 2017
- All books must be written by womxn of color
- You do not have to identify as a womxn of color
- Choose one book for each challenge
- Borrow from your local or campus library, or purchase your own books
- Go in whichever order makes meaning to you
- Share your literary journey! — I’m still figuring this part out. We’ll be in touch 🙂
Here we go! Here is the full reading challenge list inspired by other “generic” lists, but most ideas are my own. I thought of it while procrastinating from writing the syllabus for my first-year learning community seminar. It’s a win-win really.
2017 Womxn of Color Reading Challenge List:
- A book that became a movie
- A book that came out the year you were born
- A book that has been on your reading list for way too long
- A book by an author who uses a pseudonym
- A book that is published in 2017
- A book about food
- A book with more than 500 pages
- A book written by a queer womxn of color
- A book written by a trans* womxn of color
- A book in a genre you usually avoid
- A book with pictures
- A book purchased from a womxn of color-owned store
- An audio book that is at least 10 hours long
- A book of poetry
- A book that is becoming a movie in 2017-2020
- A book with themes of community and support
- A memoir – author has the same racial/ethnic identit(ies) as you *skip if not applicable
- A memoir – author has different racial/ethnic identit(ies) as you
- A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
- A book that passes the Bechdel test (“features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added.”)
- A book set in two or more different time periods
- A book by or about a person with a disability
- A book about a topic or subject you already love
- A book that was written in languages other than English (translated works too)
- A book that features main characters who identify as LGBTQ+
- A book by a best-selling author
- A book that you have to wait for (currently out of stock, or that you have to put on reserve)
- A book you selected based off the cover
- A book whose main character or author owns and expresses their sexuality
- A book you’ve given to someone as a gift
- A book someone recommended to you
- A book you don’t want to admit that you’re reading, but you’re going to read it anyway!
- A book about a religion or spirituality different from your own
- A book whose main character is approximately 10+ years younger than you
- A book whose main character is approximately 10+ years older than you
- A book that was on a main display at the library or bookstore
- A book based on a true story
- A book that was banned
- A book with bad reviews
- An e-book
- A book of short stories
- A book that has been picked for a book club
- A book with multiple heroines
- A book that starts with the first letter of your first name
- A book that is accompanied by a podcast, or the author has a podcast
- A used book that costs $5 or less
- A book with a theme of liberation
- A book whose cover has an animal on it
- A book you can read in a day
- A book you heard about from someone on this reading challenge
Over the holiday break, I am completing challenges #35 (a book whose main character is approximately 10+ years older than you) with The Loved Ones by Sonya Chung. I also just wrapped up #48 (a book whose cover has an animal on it) with Fish in Exile by Vi Khi Nao.
Spread the wealth–please share this with your friends and loved ones. Comment below on which challenge you are attempting + if you already have a book in mind!
Happy reading, and here’s to a new year!