I’M BURNT OUT! Maybe? I think that is what I’ve been enduring anyway.
What follows is an outpouring of thoughts. (When is it not? haa)
In case you didn’t know (and, honestly, I don’t see how you could – I told no one), I was away for a week in Cardiff hanging out with my mum and brother, which was super great(!!) but also travel exhausts me. But even before I went down to Cardiff, I noticed a slowing down in my reading and in my desire to read anything (especially anything long!) Ugh.
Well, I think it’s partly because, although my challenge to read more diversely was going swimmingly at the start of the year, I feel like I’m having more difficulty at the moment balancing my reads. It would be easy to say “aw the hell with it!” but isn’t the POINT partly that if I want things to change and if I want a wider range of authors and stories, I do have to stay aware and keep my eye on what I’m reading and take up this challenge. I think so. I want to do this. I think it’s good and much-needed.
The ‘easy reads’ and audiobooks I wanted to turn to all happened to be by white dudes (or the occasional white woman which is fine because it’ll up my female authors count, but that’s not suffering nearly as much as my non-white authors count). And the challenging/longer reads I wanted to try this year are both by John Steinbeck soooo I felt like starting one of those now (though it’s a great time of the year to start) would just make me feel bad about adding yet another white dude to the Pale Male pile of books that is my Currently Reading list.
The issue isn’t simply about finding books though. I have a lot of interesting-sounding books listed that are from authors of diverse backgrounds. And there are resources out there—databases and lists—that identify these authors and their books… But they sometimes seem annoyingly difficult to actually get my hands on. The most common issues I’ve been running into lately is that the books I want are either out of print or only sold in the US so I have to get them ordered to my store or house… And don’t even get me started on the number of diverse authors and illustrators in comics! (The number is “very few” in case you were wondering.)
An aside: I actually am super into comics from an illustrator point of view and would really love to write and draw my own comic, but I don’t consider myself much of a writer so don’t hold your breath for anything too soon… But…eventually.
Another issue I’ve run into, I’ve really been craving some antiquity recently. I kind of want to read from some Greek philosophers and playwrights and poets…I blame Jean/BookishThoughts entirely. But I also don’t want to sacrifice the (relative) balance I have in my reading at the moment (or have to pull myself back to a more balanced place).
Let’s talk genre too. I want more non-fiction from non-white authors that isn’t about race. There’s only so much Michio Kaku and Reza Aslan can do. Also, ladies; where you at?! Basically, I’m looking forward to another Mindy Kaling, and Akilah Hughes‘ new book.
And I don’t want to be ridiculous. I know there are loads of books out there by a wide range of authors. I did actually just order 4 or 5 books by authors of colour from Waterstones (and the Waterstones Marketplace for books sourced from the US) and each one sounded really interesting (with about half by non-Westerners). It’s just annoying that they take a week or so to get here (longer for books coming across the Atlantic) and I can’t always just pick them up when I’m at my local Waterstones.
I feel like I might have done a call-out for books by authors of colour before and I know I added a few things to my TBR semi-recently, but I’m asking again.
Can you recommend some books by authors of colour?
(Bonus points for non-Westerners?) Genres I particularly like include:
- literary fiction
- children’s books
- memoir (I’m still feeling out how much I like this genre…I probably won’t like celebrity or politician memoirs…I like comedians though.)
- comedy? maybe..?
- science (particularly pop-sci and pop-psych)
NB: It’d be great if the suggestions are readily available in the UK.
And maybe that’ll help me get my motivation back.
Alternatively, I’m going to take a week or two as a reading rest and fill that time sewing dresses for myself (I’m fixing my sewing machine’s broken foot pedal finally after months of leaving it in disrepair! YAY!). Then come back at it all with a fresh brain.
Speaking about challenges, I am pretty much THROWING IN THE TOWEL on my classics challenge. It feels pointless, it feels at odds with my (more-important-to-me) diversity challenge and I am really not someone who needs to ‘challenge’ themselves to read classics. They’re almost my ‘go to’…Just not the ones I picked out for the Classics Challenge haaaah