Every year, I set myself a reading challenge. This started in 2013, when I challenged myself to read 100 books. I narrowly missed at 96, which I still count as a win because 96 books!
Since then, I have read 56 books a year.
So far, that’s 252 books.
A few months ago, I was ranting about the lack of diversity in the content we consume; whether it is directors, writers and producers in film and television, authors of the books we read, speakers and panels at conferences, news anchors and journalists, ad infinitum.
It made me consider the medium I consume the most, books. So I tallied it up. Since I began my reading challenge, the authors I’ve read each year have been:
- 2013: 22 women / 74 men
- 2014: 25 women / 27 men
- 2015: 16 women / 36 men
- 2016: 18 women / 34 men
- Total: 81 women / 171 men
I’m embarrassed by this. My reading list is dominated by male authors. More than twice as many.
I’ve worked through several “Top 100 books everyone should read” lists, which are often very male-heavy. I read books recommended from friends and colleagues. I read books recommended by authors I like. I pick up random books at the library.
You’d think my selection would be more diverse.
I have decided to add to my challenge for 2017 and only read books written by female or non-cisgender authors. Should I have to read a male author, it wouldn’t count towards my challenge.
I’m looking forward to broadening the voices that I’m listening to. You can view my book lists here.