It has come to my attention that two of my bookish goals for this year are at war:
- Read Your Own Damn Books (reading books I already own)
- Read more diversely (in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, etc)
I am really enjoying reading more diversely, but I also really want to reduce my physical TBR which, having accumulated before I got more “woke”, is filled with books from exactly the kind of authors I always read from over and over again. SO(!) how do I reconcile my desire to continue my diverse reading adventure and whittle down my TBR*?
*NB: when I say TBR in this post I mean the books I already own. My virtual TBR on GoodReads is filled with diverse reading options that I’m excited to get to, but it’s the reading of already-bought books that I wanted to try to do this year (Read Your Own Damn Books). It would save me some money too. I don’t really buy books new and I borrow from my library a lot, but prioritising reading books I’ve already bought instead of buying more (even if secondhand) could mean more money for Gü pots or other delicacies. 😉
Also (I don’t think it bares mentioning really, but in case it does), it’s not that I don’t want to read the types of authors that are considered the ‘default’ any more. I just want to read from a wider pool of authors as well, but prioritising my current TBR would definitely overwhelm that goal and make it pretty…’monocultured’, shall we say?
SO what to do about this? Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m hoping my library gets more audiobooks by a diverse range of authors that I can listen to at work. I recently listened to The Regional Office Is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales and it really surprised me (in a good way). It cost nothing and, being an audiobook that I could read while working, didn’t cut into my ‘reading’ time at all…in fact, it turned work time into ‘reading’ time which is always nice ha!
The only problem with this library audiobooking tactic is that my library only updates their catalogue very occasionally (and usually more ebooks come in than audiobooks). The books aren’t always interesting (with fewer of them by women (unless romance which doesn’t often appeal to me) or POC or LGBT people) and there are usually a lot of self-help books by middle-class, middle-aged white dudes or hokey pseudo-psychology mysticism crap and I just…I’m not about that life. So that doesn’t really help me much.
Why is this important to me? Lots of reasons. You can interpolate the obvious motivations for why I want to keep on top of this balance that might seem to be only about statistics. But on a far less lofty level, I get bored of reading from the same perspective all the time. I am interested in (just about) all the books I have on my TBR or I at least have solid reasons for wanting to read them, but just as you sometimes need a break after reading the same genre day in and day out, I can’t just read basically they same point of view all the time without feeling a little unenthused about my reading.
I guess this is a bit of a brain spew, but “Just don’t pay attention to it and read whatever” is sort of hard for me since I think I’ll start to feel the lack of difference pretty quickly, but I do want to make a dent in the unread books on my shelf. Maybe I’ll go through my shelves and see what books I can donate so I don’t have to worry about feeling obliged to read them… Ugh ugh ugh. Someone give me £1million to buy audiobooks for the rest of my life (and also a house in which to put my physical books and myself…just…gonna sneak that in there too…fine print).