Reading goals for 2017: Read more. Read more diversely.

It’s a new year and time for some new reading goals! I love using the tracker in Goodreads. I’m actually terrible at the social aspect of Goodreads (but I’m trying to get better!) and I mainly use it for my own rating/records system. Fifty books is my normal goal most years, which I totally failed last year since I was up to my eyes in Harry Potter research for my Quidditch paper at the Harry Potter Conference and also editing my own book, which I read about five thousand times. So if that counts, I crushed my goal.

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I’m actually more excited about my reading goal this year than any other year because I’m definitely reading with a purpose. Aside from whatever my book club at work chooses (which tends to be pretty diverse), I’m only really reading diverse books and nonfiction about entrepreneurship/professional development/business as I start working on a side project about professional development for young creatives and begin my new novel, which has two POC protagonists.

What are diverse books? For me, it’s reading about women/POC/people with disabilities/LGBTQ+ people as well as books by those authors. Growing up, most of the books I read were written by white women or men and had white, female or male, able-bodied, middle class, straight protagonists. Some books assigned in school were diverse, but the majority were written by white men. When I was younger, I loved reading books about tall, brown-haired girls who were confident and funny and liked horses, unicorns, and other dorky things, because they were just like me. And there were so many of them!

As I started to write, I created similar stories; my mind ran wild with plots but the characters essentially stayed the same. I have always believed that the best way to improve your writing (and empathy, and education, and worldview, etc.) is by reading, so that’s what I’m doing. Bring on the diversity!

There are some great resources for diversifying your reading lists including The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women, by Sarah Nović in Elle, My Year of Reading Books by Black Women by Alisha Acquaye also in Elle, and Book Riot’s newsletters, The Riot Rundown and What’s Up in YA?, which always have excellent links. I also follow We Need Diverse Books on Facebook and the resources on their website for both readers and writers is invaluable.

What’s on your reading list for 2017?