Moar Stats about 2019 in Books

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So, since I did this last year… 67 new books by a total of 58 writers (I think—I’m having trouble counting them and I keep getting different totals), counting co-authors equally with individual authors (and illustrators of graphic works equally with prose writers). 36 writers that were new to me, in that I hadn’t read any of their works before, to the best of my recollection. Of those 36, I believe something like 11 or twelve are cisgender white men. 19 are not cis men, and 11 are not white. 7, I believe, are women of color.

As with last year’s note, new-to-me books by writers I had read before the year began were significantly more of a monolith: 12 out of the 20 authors in this category or so were cis white men and 6 were cis white women (or seem to me to identify as such, after minimal research), with one trans woman, and one woman and one man of color. Those statistics are, as I said last year, depressing but not surprising, as I have spent most of my life reading mostly books by white men.

After having made a conscious decision to read more widely, specifically looking for people from different backgrounds, I have made some reasonable progress, although it’s probably worth pointing out that the raw number of having read works by 11 authors that were new to me and also cis white men is the same as in 2018, but I read an extra handful of books, so the percentage went down. Still, 30% is not an unreasonable or unbalanced level, if I can sustain it. And, again, it was mostly white guys’ plays and nonfiction that I was reading—I read only two novels by white male authors I hadn’t read before 2019. And one of those was terrific! And I loathed the other. Ah, well.

Insofar as I have goals for reading in 2020 (other than All the Shakespeare!) they are to keep reading new-to-me writers from a decent range of backgrounds, perhaps try to search out more writers who aren’t writing in English (I think I only read one novel in translation this year) and try to read more playscripts just generally.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

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