I always have a game plan for my yearly reading. It's so motivating to me, and just plain fun, too. This year, things looked a little different. For the first year since I started making yearly book goals, I didn't increase the total number. Instead, I focused on diversifying and deepening WHAT I read. Mainly? I want to read 100 books this year NOT written by white men.
Here's what I wrote when I first announced this:
"Let me give a little disclaimer here: I do not hate white males. I think they matter just as much as any other kind of person, and my goal to NOT read their books is not because I have some vendetta against white men. But. Here's the thing: White males are in leadership almost everywhere I go, and their voices overwhelmingly fill my life/mind/bookshelves. This goal is a conscious effort to continue building on my efforts to increase the variety and diversity of voices I choose to listen to and learn from. More women, more people of color, more people of different sexualities, more people with disabilities, more people on different ends of the political spectrum, more people who look/act/think/believe/feel differently than I do.
I will still read books my white males this year, I just want to make sure that I'm consciously choosing diversity OFTEN, not just once every now and then. This will be a major shift in my reading, and I'm looking forward to all that I'll learn from the voices I'll be listening to!"
It's only been a little over two weeks of this new year and new goal so far, but I'm already LOVING what this is doing for my reading and my life.
Here's the thing: for the first time probably ever in my life, the things I'm hearing, consuming, and learning are finally feeling diverse and balanced. So much of my education came from white men. My bosses have always been white men. Most of the politicians in power where I have lived have been white men (although I'm so grateful for the exceptions). And most of the books I've read (especially Christian books and theology) have been by white men. This goal is changing that.
I'm loving the uniqueness of the voices I've been reading so far. I even love when I read something I can't really connect to or relate with. I love the uncomfortable feeling of seeing my own privilege presented to me. I love the new things I'm wondering about, the new questions I'm asking, the new areas of improvement I'm seeing in my life.
It's a challenge, and a good one. It's changing me.
So, my challenge to you is this: read more books this year by women and people of color.
If you read one book last year, read two this year, and make one of them a book from a diverse author.
If you read 50 books last year, try reading 55 or even 70 this year, and make a bunch of those diverse reads.
Just start somewhere. Open your eyes, your mind, your heart, your life. Challenge your own comfortability. Get a little more woke this year.