Hi! I read a lot. I started keeping a list at the beginning of 2007, just out of curiosity, and I think the record-keeping made me read more
. It's a vicious cycle, really.
I started off the year reading books by women of color. I read five in a row, then got distracted. Counting back now, it turns out that of the 133 books I've read so far, only 13 of them are by African-American or African authors. I've read another 12 by Japanese and Chinese authors, but 10 of those are the Petshop of Horrors
manga series. So this community has a good goal for me.
Here's what I've read in 2007 by authors of color (apart from manga):
(1-4) Octavia E. Butler
: Parable of the Sower
, Parable of the Talents
, and Fledgling
. Her world-building, that takes into consideration race, class, age and gender, is really refreshing after the sort of good-old-boy scifi where the (young, sexy, white) women mainly lounge around in spandex and/or armored bras. Fledgling
is a really interesting take on vampires.
(5) Ayaan Hirsi Ali
: The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam
. A passionate, important, and highly experienced voice on a pressing issue.
: Push: A Novel
. Sapphire is mainly a poet but I found her first novel gripping and thought-provoking. It draws on The Color Purple
quite a lot so I wish I'd read that first.
(7) Alice Walker
: The Color Purple
. I felt very ... friendly to everyone in this novel by the time I'd finished it. And deeply impressed by the range of emotions Walker expresses. It's one of my favorite novels ever.
(8) Mark Mathabane
: Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography--The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa
. Had to read this for a class. It's the true story of how Mathabane managed to survive (barely) and eventually escape the incredibly brutal and dehumanizing life of an African in urban South Africa.
(9-10) bell hooks
: Where We Stand: Class Matters
and All About Love: New Visions
. bell hooks is one of the most important authors to me. The first book of hers I read, Teaching to Transgress
, almost singlehandedly made me a feminist. Neither of these is among my favorite works of hers, but everything she writes has a lot of wisdom in it.
(11-13) Toni Morrison
: The Bluest Eye
, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
, and Beloved
. I'll be reading a lot more Morrison this fall as I am taking a course about her. So far I have come to the realization that she is the greatest living English writer, and that Beloved
is the greatest novel I have read thus far (out of hundreds). I would have read all her books by now if I'd known that earlier, but when we did Beloved
in high school I wasn't mature enough to appreciate it. Playing in the Dark
is a short monograph I recommend to anyone remotely interested in American literature.
(14) Liang Heng
(and Judith Shapiro): Son of the Revolution
. Memoir of the Chinese Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao.
(15) Ji-Li Jiang
: Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution
. Memoir for a young-adult audience, possibly middle-school aged.
[PS. I'm on LibraryThing