The truth is if you are not consciously and actively seeking books by diverse authors, the books we read by default are written by white (often male) authors. By Diversifying your bookshelf, you are opening up your mind to many different approaches and perspectives. In the publishing and media industry, frequently some points of view can be pushed to the sidelines, so it is important to actively allow yourself to have the opportunity to add new writers from all walks of life to your bookshelf. In this part of our “How to Book Club Series,” we will uncover how to be culturally responsive through your literary selection.
Make it manageable
The next time you go to a bookstore or library (or browse online) start with one genre. Trying to look across multiple genres at once can be overwhelming and frustrating! Instead, narrow your gaze to something manageable and go from there. Once you have found a genre that piques your interest, you can begin diving deeper and exploring new voices!
Do your research
Once you've settled on a genre, research the names of black, indigenous and POC writers from that particular genre. This way you're not aimlessly wandering the shelves of your bookstore without a game plan. Another great resource is our Hear Our Voices Book Club page on Bookclubz. We partner with Algonquin Books in order to feature strong stories about underrepresented voices. If you are having trouble finding where to start, this is a great page to check out!
Start a monthly practice
Since there are 12 months in one year why not choose a different genre each month? This way your year is booked with authors that offer new perspectives and many different experiences.
Stay tuned to relevant author and book events
In 2020 Dr. Anderson Smith facilitated conversations with our team and book clubs around the world in a series of Antiracist Book Club events. The Antiracist Book Club series offered a consistent space for people to meet, to share ideas, learn, educate and dismantle systemic racism using books and community. We believe in the limitless power of books and their ability to establish, sustain, shape, and inform an individual's identity through shared reading experience with others. If you would like to use your book club as a means to transcend the involvement within a club to the consciousness of a society, Anderson shares three actions to help guide difficult but necessary conversations.
- Listen deeply
- Accept one another's reality
- Expect and accept non-closure