KJ (owlmoose) wrote,

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Follow up to the Bradford Challenge

Just about a year ago, I posted about K. Tempest Bradford's reading challenge (no cis straight white men for a year) and my plans to attempt a modified version of it. The most significant thing I learned is that I'm really, really bad at keeping track of my reading, whatever the reason (this also includes remembering what I read and liked for Hugo nomination purposes). So I didn't track very well, which means that I don't really have anything to report. :P But I still wanted to check in.

I can say that I successfully limited my reading of cis straight white men, even through Hugo nomination season. I only bought four prose books by authors falling into this category (I decided not to count comics and graphic novels this time around), and the only one I've read so far is "The End of All Things" by John Scalzi. The others were all entries in series that I'm already reading (Jim Hines, Max Gladstone, and Robert Jackson Bennett), and I will sprinkle them through my reading next year.

As to whether I did better with authors of color, since I didn't track closely, I can't really say. I did make a point of reading several novels by authors of color -- as it happens, none of the books recommended in the comments to the above-linked post, although I did catch some of the authors. In particular, I'm annoyed with myself for not getting around to Octavia Butler, as she was the ghost of honor at this most recent FogCon, and one of the biggest gaps in my reading by SF/F masters. Still, there is always this year, and my new goal is to pick up and read at least one book by her before WisCon. The main new author of color I discovered was Zen Cho. I adored her new novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, and I want to start looking for her short fiction. But I think it's probably still fair to say that I read more white female authors than any other single category, and it's the category that continues to be hardest for me to branch from -- possibly because so many of my favorite authors are (as far as I know) straight white women.

One good side effect of this reading challenge is the diversity of my Hugo ballot. There are no male authors on my novel ballot, and two of the books I nominated were written by women of color (Zen Cho and N.K. Jemisin); the effect continues down-ballot as well, because I haven't yet listed a single white male author in any of the prose ficton categories. (This doesn't hold in the multimedia categories, though, including graphic story -- I really wanted to give The Wicked + The Divine a nod there.)

One of the biggest knocks on reading challenges like this is that they don't change anyone's behavior long-term, and I want to fight the impulse to just go back to what I was doing. The main takeaway for me is that I need to figure out a tracking system that works for me -- not just for keeping track of my own reading patterns, but to improve my contributions to Lady Business. Maybe reporting my reading there will succeed where other plans have failed. And then maybe I'll have more to say next year.

This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/740415.html. There are currently comment count unavailable comments on DW.
Tags: books, reading challenge, the great hugo awards project

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