I did the #Blackathon reading challenge in February. The goal was to read books written by black authors or written about black characters. I love these kinds of challenges. So what did I learn during #Blackathon?
There are no unread black authors on my ipad
I have lots of unread ebooks on my Kindle app. When I was browsing for books to read in February, I couldn’t find any by black authors. At first I decided that I was a horrible person who wasn’t buying black authors. Then I realized that wasn’t the case. I had ebooks by black authors but they were all already read. I realized that I have a mental list of auto-read black authors. Their books don’t languish unread on my iPad. I get them and I read them.
What I don’t have is a collection of “second tier” black authors. These would be people whose books I’ve picked up on BookBub or something because the premise sounded good but I just haven’t gotten to them yet. Is it because these kinds of books aren’t being published? Are there only the superstars in the world or are mid-level black authors not getting the promotion that we see for other authors? I don’t see a lot of people being advertised to me in the genres I like.
I pick up books I wouldn’t have normally looked at
I’m a huge Nnedi Okorafor fan but I hadn’t read her Wakanda graphic novels. This challenge had a graphic novel part to it so I picked them up. Also, I was looking at a list of black authors and saw the Carleen Brice book. I hadn’t heard of her before so I got this book from the library. It was quite good and I wouldn’t have known about it if I wasn’t doing this challenge.
I did a lot of browsing on the Libby app for my library. It has an African-American section which normally annoys me because they don’t break out any other author group by race, but it helped this month. I reserved so many books. I seriously overdid. I think I had nine books on hold just because of this challenge at one point. This will be the gift that keeps on giving with library books unless they all come in at once and I’m not able to read them all.
It annoys me when I hear people say that they just read what they want and don’t look at who the author is or where they come from. That’s a great way to just read American and British white people in my experience. Those are the books that are going to be put in front of you if you aren’t looking harder.
I’m not reading books that I’m not interested in just to get in more reading of books by black authors. What I find is that if I have “I need to read more black authors” in my mind when I’m browsing then my eyes will pause for just a fraction of a second longer on those books. I notice more that I might have just scrolled past.