My books read tends to go up by title on twitter while #TodaysPoem tends to go up at Instagram.
Annually, since 2012, I have shared the metrics of what I consumed. I track by nation, age, genre, gender, queerness, colour, format, source and rating.
Data gradually got more granular over the years.
In 2012, I read 65 titles, 94% white, 72% poetry. Top favs were: Charlotte Perriand: A Life of Creation, Rain; road; an open boat (M&S, 2012) by Roo Borson, The Obvious Flap by Gary Barwin and Gregory Betts (Book*hug, 2011), The Hard Return (Insomniac, 2012) by Marcus McCann and In the Orchard, the Swallows by Peter Hobbs (Anansi, 2012).
I noticed I tended to read 10% more books by men and rate them higher. I was particularly weak in Indigenous reads.
I tended run between 10 and 40% of reads being Canadian, with about 3/4 being older than a decade.
All that was holding firm and consistent for 4 years over 700 books. Colonial bias sub-program successfully internalized. I pressed myself more to choose against default type.
In 2017 I read more Canadian than not, and more female than male, often going to a library or bookstore, and realizing I picked all males, mostly white, so went back to the shelves. My proportion of new reads increased. A third were then by BIPOC authors.
Top reads in 2019 included, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 years by Sarah L Delany and Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth (Dell book, 1993), The accidental chef: a memoir by Caroline Ishii (2016), Love lives here: a story of thriving in a transgender family by Amanda Jetté Knox (Viking, 2019), The Kennedy Moment by Peter Adamson (Myriad Editions, 2018), Binti: The Complete Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor (DAW, 2019), The Allspice Bath by Sonia Saikaley (Inanna, 2019), No one can pronounce my name by Rakesh Satyal (Picador, 2017), Fish in a Tree: a novel by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (Penguin, 2015), Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson (alfred k knoff, 2017), Journey of a Thousand Steps by Madona Skaff-Koren (Renaissance Press, 2015).
I’m not looking for a cookie. I’m looking for self-awareness of what the default white supremacy does to the world-building that is daily life. We have to challenge defaults with what we feed ourselves. Whole worlds are otherwise invisible.
In 2020 I realized my top source for books was Amazon. Being housebound with concussion at the time near a community with no bookstore didn’t bolster my rates. Correcting course, when I found a book I liked from title, description and Amazon sample, I ordered directly from the publisher or my indie. If I were not attending to that, and tracking it, I wouldn’t have noticed.
Chapbooks were up to 1/5 of titles. So was haiku, not the same 20%. Poetry was disproportional so I tried to select more non-fiction and novels.
What will 2022 show? Numbers will soon be in. Clear is that I’ve read more this year than any given year of my life, by number of titles or by page count.