You Are What You Read
Books can be mirrors and windows, that is, reflections of our own experiences and insight into experiences that differ from our own. Which do you prefer to read? Do you read a mix of authors from different backgrounds? Take a look at the books you've read recently and examine patterns. Do you read books mostly by dead white men (ie. "the canon")? Do you prefer classics or contemporary works? Do you turn to true stories, novels, short stories? Do you tend to read authors with backgrounds similar to yours? Do you read more "mirrors" or "windows?"
Looking at what I've read in the past six months, they're entirely super contemporary, ie. written in the past decade. Here's a breakdown of the authors I've been reading:
-80% are by women
-37% are by women of color
-47% are by people of color
-10% are by LGBTQ authors
-10% are nonfiction
- 31% are short story collections
So I've been reading mostly novels by women, about half of the books I've read in the past six months are by people of color, and very few are by LGBTQ authors. That doesn't mean I'll necessarily deliberately look for more of a mix of windows, but I think it's a worthwhile experiment to examine what you're reading and by whom and to be aware of the content you consume, whether you tend to stay in your own lane (ie. read books by people like you), or try to expose yourself to different experiences. Books can be great tools for both, to learn about the stories told outside of your own experience, as well as to discover stories that speak to you and your life.
What have you been reading?