It’s the End of the Line, but I’m Not Ready!

2017 has been a strange year to say the least. Politically, personally, my career, and in my reading — things were shaken up. I commenced my goal to read books about fat women that had positive representations. No happily ever after thanks to diets or dates! The challenge was mostly depressing. Turns out, hardly anyone likes to see a fat girl happy with herself. I need to read even more fat fiction to see what’s out there.

pinky
Fat-Positive Pinkie by HoneyCane

I also had a goal to read more books by women of color. I’m not sure I did so great there, though I did buy a lot of books by women of color. While Grab the Lapels is dedicated to writing by folks who identify as women, I did read some books by men. Those reviews are happily housed on my Goodreads page.

Although there may book a book by someone who identifies as a man that ends up in my hands (often due to book club), I’m trying to get that number as low as possible. I know some people argue good books are good regardless of the authors gender, race, age, and/or sexuality. I respond that there are systems in place that prevent certain authors from getting a book deal:

  1. Look at various times in history when women couldn’t get published because writing wasn’t considered a feminine business.
  2. There are presses today that argue a story written by a person of color must be about race or they won’t publish it. There’s no market for a book by a black person that isn’t about being black.
  3. The current argument over whether or not diversity is a marketing tool or a real need in the market.

So, here’s a breakdown of what I read this year:

Books by Women

Fiction: 26

Non-Fiction: 15

Poetry: 2

Graphic Novels: 3

Books by Non-White Women: 12

Books by Men

Fiction: 10

Non-Fiction: 3

Poetry: 1

Graphic Novels4

Books by Non-White Men: 5


The Year isn’t Over Yet!

  • I’ll be posting about my fat reading goals in more detail.
  • I’ll choose my favorite books read in 2017.
  • I’m going to post about my 2018 goals.
  • Expect reviews of
    • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
    • Looking for Mr. Goodbar by Judith Rossner
    • The graphic novel Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie by Anne Martinetti
    • And I hope to get to either Fat Assassins by Martia Fowler or Anusha of Prospect Corner by A.M. Blair.
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20 comments

  1. In Australia many of the best new books are by Indigenous authors (more women than men probably) but you’re right, they’re all about what it is to be Indigenous. This may be because Indigenous Lit is relatively new, but I wonder if there would be the same interest if they started writing ordinary middle class stuff.

  2. Frankly I’m tired of black people writing almost exclusively about the ‘black experience’, so I’m intrigued to hear that they’re put under pressure to do that by publishers. I also get fed up with women writing exclusively about feminist “issues”, etc., etc. Roll on the day when we’re all gender and colour blind and can just have humans writing about what it is to be human…

    Enjoyed the post and hearing a bit more about your reading life beyond the blog… 😀

    • I have a book coming up called Coffee Will Make You Black that was written by a black woman who didn’t write about race in particular. My least favorite are the sweeping generations-long sagas, which I usually see in Indian and African/African American lit.

  3. I love your fat reading goals, and I can’t wait to hear more about them! I hope some publishers are reading this blog because they can finally do something about this HUGE gap in the books on offer at the moment! Fat positive writing seems to so obvious, so why can’t we find it?

  4. Ah, this post reminds me that it’s almost the end of the year and I haven’t even started the End of the Year Survey I participate in every year. I would really like to see more books by PoC authors where a PoC protag is allowed to be happy. Books by PoC tend to grapple with a lot of tough issues. White protags should not be the only ones allowed to have fluffy romance novels. This of course goes for a multitude of marginalization. But like you said, the market for such books isn’t always there.

  5. Thanks for including Anusha on your list as a possibility! It was such a fun novel to write with my twins. Anusha feels like a member of our family. 🙂

    It’s hard to believe December is here and already almost over!

  6. I like your fat reading goals – and it’s unique to your blog!
    I do hope you read Anusha of Prospect Corner at some point… I’ve been very curious about it! (And how it compares to Anne of GG.)

    • I plan to read it and Fat Assassins now. I’ve been reading more lately than I had planned. Actually, my eyeballs are feeling wonky from focusing close up so much! I’ve gone back to an audiobook for today.

  7. I love how you’re leading into the new year with this series of posts. That makes me super happy! It’s nice to read a collection of smaller posts and reflect on the little things. I should take that advice to heart a bit more, shouldn’t I? I should. Perhaps that’s a good reflection for my 2018 goals… Thanks for the inspiration!

    I’m sorry your experience with fat-positive books hasn’t been great. I am looking forward to continuing to follow your journey. I really respect that you have a mission for this blog, and it’s a great one, too! You’re right that we need to support female and POC authors. I’ve definitely read more POC authors this year thanks to your inspiration. In fact, Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of my top reads of 2017.

    I cannot wait to see what you manage to do in 2018! I am definitely looking forward to that goals post.

    • You’re so kind, Jackie, and a great friend. I haven’t thought about my 2018 goals yet. I might do some monthly themes to organize myself. Definitely more fat fiction; I have loads more to go.

      • It’s so hard to set goals. Whenever a new page is turned, whether it be the new year or a new job or whatnot, I find myself reaching for the stars. I always overcommit myself because I just can’t choose. I wish you luck with your goal defining!

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