A Closer Look at my 2015 Reading Challenge

03_09_2015_03

I read as much as I could in 2015. Here’s a breakdown of what I covered:

112 books by female authors!

  1. Karen Joy Fowler
  2. Margaret Atwood (5)
  3. Ruth Ozeki
  4. A.S.A. Harrison
  5. Heather O’Neill
  6. Rainbow Rowell
  7. Jennifer Dawson
  8. Caitlin Moran
  9. Kara Cooney
  10. Jacqueline Woodson
  11. Ursula K. Le Guin
  12. Liz Howard
  13. Nnedi Okorafor (3)
  14. Zadie Smith (4)
  15. Minky Worden
  16. Pamela Sargent
  17. Tina Fey
  18. Lena Dunham
  19. Jenny Lawson
  20. Mindy Kaling
  21. Felicia Day
  22. Kim Gordon
  23. Susanna Kaysen
  24. Carrie Brownstein
  25. Ann Leckie
  26. Emily St. John Mandel
  27. Nonica Byrne
  28. Elisabeth Vonarburg (2)
  29. Connie Willis
  30. Helen Philips
  31. Gillian Anderson
  32. G. Willow Wilson (12)
  33. Veronica Roth (2)
  34. Juliet Marillier
  35. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (3)
  36. Valerie Solanas
  37. Nadine Gordimer
  38. Cristina Henriquez
  39. Kim Fu
  40. Michelle Alexander
  41. Kristin Cronn-Mills
  42. Nomi Wolf
  43. Janet Mock
  44. Kate Bornstein
  45. Katie Rain Hill
  46. Ivan E. Coyote
  47. Rae Spoon
  48. Audre Lorde
  49. Ali Smith
  50. Julie Maroh
  51. Kelly Sue DeConnick (4)
  52. Noelle Stevenson (3)
  53. Harper Lee
  54. Emer O’Toole
  55. Gillian Flynn
  56. Beatrix Potter (3)
  57. Betty Smith
  58. Taiye Selasi
  59. Octavia E. Butler
  60. N.K. Jemisin (3)
  61. Cynthia Bond
  62. Esi Edugyan
  63. Issa Rae
  64. Tiphanie Yanique
  65. Roxane Gay
  66. Shilpi Somaya Gowda
  67. Margo Jefferson
  68. Helen Oyeyemi
  69. Paula Hawkins
  70. Rajaa Alsanea
  71. Quan Barry
  72. Mary Roach
  73. Emily Nagoski
  74. Isabel Allende
  75. Teresa McWhirter
  76. Amber Dawn
  77. Barbara Kingsolver
  78. Anne Michaels
  79. J. K. Rowling

First off, 63% (50) are from the USA. This is worse than last year’s 59%!!! I wanted to read LESS American authors and I ended up reading more, ahhh dang. Epic fail. 15% (12) authors are from Canada which is better than last year, but only by a little. 5 authors are from England, 2 from France, 2 from Nigeria, 1 from Scotland, 1 from Ireland, 1 from Peru, 1 from South Africa, 1 from Zimbabwe, 1 from Saudi Arabia, 1 from Vietnam. So, 16 international women. What the heck happened there… I was so determined to read more diverse writers but I obviously didn’t try hard enough. Bah.

Of the 79 authors, 67% (53) are Caucasian (26 were WOC). I was aiming for a waaaay more diverse selection of authors this year but it seems I didn’t do as well as I had hoped. I read 10% less Caucasian authors than last year though, so that’s an improvement at least, and I read 8 more WOC authors.

Overall I’m pretty disappointed that for a second year in a row I read predominantly white American authors. But there was some improvement in some areas so I have to count that. I read multiple books by many authors this year, including 3 by Nnedi Okorafor, 4 by Zadie Smith, 3 by N. K. Jemisin, and 3 by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

In fact, if we look at the breakdown of books instead of authors, 34 books were by WOC, which is 30%. 15 books were from Canada, 3 books were from France, and 8 were from England.

If we look at the rest of the books I read this year there are another 19 books by male authors, and in total this year I read about 70 comics and 8 graphic novels, which were by both male and female authors.

Total number of titles read in 2015 were 190. Woohoo!

I WILL do better in 2016! I will continue to reduce the amount of money I spend on books (I did fairly well on this in 2015) and to read the books I already have sitting on the shelf. I was also pretty lacking in the reviews department this year, which I’d like to fix in 2016. And seriously, diversity.

Here’s all the breakdown:

My 2015 Female Authors List:
1. A work of fiction (8)
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
Surfacing – Margaret Atwood
All Over Creation – Ruth Ozeki
The Silent Wife – A.S.A. Harrison
The Girl Who Was Saturday Night – Heather O’Neill
Landline – Rainbow Rowell
The Ha-Ha – Jennifer Dawson
How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran

2. A work of non-fiction (1)
The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt – Kara Cooney

3. A collection of poetry (3)
Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson
Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way – Ursula Le Guin
Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent – Liz Howard

4. A collection of short stories or essays (5)
Kabu-Kabu – Nnedi Okorafor
Changing My Mind – Zadie Smith
Stone Mattress: Nine Tales – Margaret Atwood
Moral Disorder and Other Stories – Margaret Atwood
Good Bones – Margaret Atwood

5. An anthology of all female contributors (2)
The Unfinished Revolution – Edited by Minky Worden (Edited by a woman, forward by a woman and 33/37 contributors are women)
Women of Wonder, The Contemporary Years: Science Fiction by Women from the 1970s to the 1990s – Edited by Pamela Sargent

6. A biography/memoir (8)
Bossypants – Tina Fey
Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” – Lena Dunham
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir – Jenny Lawson
Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling
You’re Never Weird on the Internet – Felicia Day
Girl in a Band – Kim Gordon
Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen
Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl – Carrie Brownstein

7. A work of science fiction (8)
Ancillary Sword – Ann Leckie
Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
The Girl in the Road – Monica Byrne
The Silent City – Elisabeth Vonarburg
Blackout – Connie Willis
The Beautiful Bureaucrat – Helen Philips
A Vision of Fire – Gillian Anderson
In the Mother’s Land – Elisabeth Vonarburg

8. A work of fantasy/supernatural (4)
Alif the Unseen – G. Willow Wilson
Divergent – Veronica Roth
Daughter of the Forest – Juliet Marillier
Insurgent – Veronica Roth

9. A book that discusses feminism (2)
We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
SCUM Manifesto – Valerie Solanas

10. A book that discusses race, gender and/or sexuality (6)
July’s People – Nadine Gordimer
The Book of Unknown Americans – Cristina HenrΓ­quez
For Today I Am A Boy – Kim Fu
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Michelle Alexander
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children – Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Vagina – Naomi Wolf

11. A book by a trans author (4)
Redefining Realness – Janet Mock
Hello, Cruel World – Kate Bornstein (*author identifies as neither male nor female but I’ll include her anyway as many biographies use female pronouns)
Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition – Katie Rain Hill
Gender Failure – Ivan E. Coyote and Rae Spoon (I struggled with where to put this as both authors were assigned female at birth but are now gender neutral. I’ve decided to change this category to “A book by a trans author” and included it. Also it is amazing.)

12. A book by a lesbian author (2)
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name – Audre Lorde
The Accidental – Ali Smith

13. A graphic novel, manga or comic book (19)
Bitch Planet #2 – Kelly Sue DeConnick
Bitch Planet #3 – Kelly Sue DeConnick
Bitch Planet #4 – Kelly Sue DeConnick
Bitch Planet #5 – Kelly Sue DeConnick
Ms. Marvel #10 – G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel #11 – G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel #12 – G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel #13 – G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel #14 – G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel #15 – G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel #16 – G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel #17 – G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel #18 – G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel #19 – G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel #1 – G. Willow Wilson
Blue is the Warmest Colour – Julie Maroh
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
Lumberjanes #1 Beware the Kitten Holy – Noelle Stevenson
Lumberjanes #2 Friendship to the Max – Noelle Stevenson

14. A book published in 2015 (5)
Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee
Girls Will Be Girls: Dressing Up, Playing Parts and Daring to Act Differently – Emer O’Toole
The Grownup – Gillian Flynn
The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood

15. A book written before 1960 (4)
The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny – Beatrix Potter
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin – Beatrix Potter
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith

16. 3 works by Women of Colour (18)
Ghana Must Go – Taiye Selasi
NW – Zadie Smith
Unexpected Stories – Octavia E. Butler
The Killing Moon – N. K. Jemisin
The Shadowed Sun – N. K. Jemisin
Ruby – Cynthia Bond
Half-Blood Blues – Esi Edugyan
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl – Issa Rae
Who Fears Death – Nnedi Okorafor
Land of Love and Drowning – Tiphanie Yanique
Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
An Untamed State – Roxane Gay
The Embassy of Cambodia – Zadie Smith
Secret Daughter – Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Martha and Hanwell – Zadie Smith
The Fifth Season – N. K. Jemisin
Binti – Nnedi Okorafor
Negroland – Margo Jefferson

17. 3 works by International Women (5)
Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
Boy, Snow, Bird – Helen Oyeyemi (Nigeria)
The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins (Zimbabwe/UK)
Girls of Riyadh – Rajaa Alsanea (Saudi Arabia)
She Weeps Each Time You’re Born – Quan Barry (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

18. A non-fiction work of science or philosophy (2)
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal – Mary Roach
Come As You Are: The Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life – Emily Nagoski

19. A romance novel (1)
The House of the Spirits – Isabel Allende

20. A book written by a local (to you) author (1)
Dirtbags – Teresa McWhirter

21. A book published by an independent press (1)
Where the Words End and My Body Begins – Amber Dawn (Arsenal Pulp Press)

22. An award winning book (2)
The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
Fugitive Pieces – Anne Michaels (Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, Orange Prize for Fiction and the Guardian Fiction Prize)

23. A book written by a female author using a male pseudonym (1)
The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)

(27 total minimum required)

Total read: 112

Start Date: January 01, 2015
End Date: December 31, 2015

Male Authors read in 2015:
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
I am An Executioner – Rajesh Parameswaran
Annihilation – Jeff VanderMeer
Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
The Paul Laurence Dunbar Reader – Paul Laurence Dunbar
The Girl With All The Gifts – M. R. Carey
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1) – Alan Bradley
Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story – Peter Bagge
Delicious Foods – James Hannaham
Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation – Bill Nye
As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
The Bones Clocks – David Mitchell
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
Armada – Ernest Cline
The Martian – Andy Weir
Sabriel – Garth Nix
Lirael – Garth Nix
Abhorsen – Garth Nix
Slade House – David Mitchell

Comics Read in 2015:
21st Century Tank Girl #1
Angel & Faith Season 10 #8-#20
Bitch Planet #2-#5
Bob’s Burgers #1-#3
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #9-#21
Giant Days Vol. 1, #5-#8
Lumberjanes Vol. 1, Vol. 2
Ms. Marvel #10-#19, #1
Paper Girls #1-#2
Plutona #1-#2
Rat Queens #9-#13
Saga #25-#31
Sex Criminals Vol. 1, Vol. 2, #11-#13
Spider Gwen #0-#2

Authors (with birthplace):
Achebe, Chinua – POC – Ogidi, Anambra, Nigeria
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi – WOC – Enugu, Nigeria
Alexander, Michelle – WOC – USA
Allende, Isabel – WOC – Lima, Peru
Alsanea, Rajaa – WOC – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Anderson, Gillian – Chicago, IL USA
Atwood, Margaret – Ottawa, ON, Canada
Bagge, Peter – Peekskill, New York, USA
Barry, Quan – WOC – Vietnam
Bond, Cynthia – WOC – Texas, USA
Bornstein, Kate – New Jersey, USA *trans author
Bradley, Alan – Toronto, ON Canada
Brownstein, Carrie – Seattle, WA, USA
Butler, Octavia E. – WOC – California, USA
Byrne, Monica – Durham, North Carolina, USA
Carey, M. L. – Liverpool, England, UK
Cline, Ernest – Ohio, USA
Cooney, Kara – Houston, Texas, USA
Coyote, Ivan E. – Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada *Trans author
Cronn-Mills, Kirsten – Nebraska, USA
Dawn, Amber – Canada
Dawson, Jennifer – London, UK
Day, Felicia – Huntsville, Alabama USA
DeConnick, Kelly Sue – Ohio, USA
Dunbar, Paul Laurence – POC – Dayton, Ohio USA
Dunham, Lena – New York, New York, USA
Edugyan, Esi – Calgary, AB Canada (Ghana)
Faulkner, William – New Albany, Mississippi, USA
Fey, Tina – Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, USA
Flynn, Gillian – Missouri, USA
Fowler, Karen Joy – Indiana, USA
Fu, Kim – WOC – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Galbraith, Robert (J. K. Rowling) – Yate, UK
Gay, Roxane – WOC – Nebraska, USA
Gordimer, Nadine – Transvaal, Union of South Africa
Gordon, Kim – Rochester, NY USA
Gowda, Shilpi Somaya – WOC – Toronto, ON Canada (Parents from Mumbai)
Hannaham, James – POC – Yonkers, New York, USA
Harrison, A. S. A. – Canada
Hawkins, Paula – Harare, Zimbabwe
HenrΓ­quez, Cristina – WOC – USA
Hill, Katie Rain – USA *Trans author
Hosseini Khaled – POC – Kabul, Afghanistan
Howard, Liz – WOC – Northern Ontario, Canada
Imarisha, Walidah – WOC – USA
Jefferson, Margo – WOC – Chicago, Illinois, USA
Jemisin, N. K. – WOC – Iowa, USA
Kaling, Mindy – WOC – Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (Tamil and Bengali parents)
Kaysen, Susanna – Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Kingsolver, Barbara – Annapolis, Maryland, USA
Lawson, Jenny – Texas, USA
Leckie, Ann – Ohio, USA
Lee, Harper – Monroeville, Alabama, USA
Le Guin, Ursula K. – Berkley, California, USA
Lorde, Audre – WOC – Harlem, New York, New York, USA
Mandel, Emily St. John – Comox, British Columbia, Canada
Maroh, Julie – Lens, France
Marillier, Juliet – Dunedin, New Zealand
McWhirter, Teresa – Kootenays, British Columbia, Canada
Michaels, Anne – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Mitchell, David – Southport, England, UK
Mock, Janet – WOC – Honolulu, USA *Trans author
Moran, Caitlin – Brighton, UK
Nagoski, Emily – USA
Nix, Garth – Melbourne, Australia
Nye, Bill – Washington, DC, USA
O’Neill, Heather – Montreal, Quebec, Canada
O’Toole, Emer – Galway, Ireland
Oyeyemi, Helen – WOC – Nigeria
Ozeki, Ruth – WOC – New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Parameswaran, Rajesh – POC – Chennai, India
Phillips, Helen – Colorado, USA
Potter, Beatrix – London, England, UK
Rae, Issa – WOC – Potomac, Maryland, USA
Roach, Mary – New Hampshire, USA
Roth, Veronica – New York, New York, USA
Rowell, Rainbow – Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Selasi, Taiye – WOC – London, UK – Super interesting interview here about where Taiye is from
Sargent, Pamela – Ithaca, New York, USA
Smith, Ali – Inverness, Scotland, UK
Smith, Betty – Brooklyn, New York, USA
Smith, Zadie – WOC – London, England, UK
Solanas, Valerie – New Jersey, USA
Spoon, Rae – Calgary, Alberta, Canada *Trans author
Stevenson, Noelle – South Carolina, USA
VanderMeer, Jeff – Pennsylvania, USA
Vonarburg, Elisabeth – Paris, France
Weir, Andy – Davis, California, USA
Willis, Connie – Denver, Colorado, USA
Wilson, G Willow – New Jersey, USA
Woodson, Jacqueline – WOC – Columbus, Ohio, USA
Wolf, Naomi – San Francisco, California, USA
Worden, Minky – Tennessee, USA
Yanique, Tiphanie – WOC – United States Virgin Islands

Note: I flip-flopped all over the place in deciding how to “label” the non-white authors I read this year. In the end I decided to simply note WOC (Woman of Colour) or POC (Person of Colour) next to applicable names. I feel this is the most respectful and appropriate way to note rather than to assume I know the details of a person’s race/ethnic identity based on a wikipedia page or photo.

3 comments

  1. I love the way you do your statistics! It makes me want to start keeping track of some of those things myself, like author birthplaces, and counting the number of authors I read as well as the number of books. I have a tendency to overwhelm myself with statistics, though, so I wonder if I should do it. Isn’t that silly?

    • It’s funny how different people keep track of their reading. I liked how you showed your books in multiple crossover categories! So smart. It’s hard trying to fit them into just one area.

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