Choosing Books Based On Race/Gender/Sexual Orientation?

I came across an article on the internet encouraging people to only read books written by certain types of people for a year. Those written only by women, or people of color, or gay/lesbians, or transgenders, etc. Basically any books except those written by straight white men.

Now I understand this is an attempt to get people to broaden their horizons. However that could have been said just by encouraging people to pick up and read books by authors they’ve never read before. Take your average yearly reading amounts and make at least half the books you read in the next year those that are written by someone new to you. Or genres you aren’t used to reading. Or if you want to take it a step further, for the next year make all of the books you read those that are written by authors you’ve never tried before or in genres you’ve never ventured into. 

But I don’t think one should use race or gender or sexual orientation of the author as a deciding factor in whether or not you read a book. I don’t think a person should ever put restrictions on their literary consumption. For one, with so many pen names out there, often not even a name that matches the gender of the author (Robert Galbraith anyone?), how is anyone to really know who is behind that author name? Unless you plan to dig around a lot.

If you try new authors and new genres, you will run across all kinds of authors. Women, men, white, color, straight, transgender, gay, lesbian, albino, freckled, authors with one green eye and one blue eye, poor, rich (and in between), foreign, local, etc. And you will find that no matter what the race, gender, sexual orientation, and what have you, we all write across the spectrum of genres.

Never avoid a story because physical (or sexual attributes) of the author. Because no matter what the physical or sexual differences there are between writers, there is one thing we all have in common; we are all mad here.

So branch out, read new authors, read new genres, and don’t worry about what the color or sex of the authors is, or who they’re sleeping with because that last is really none of anyone’s business anyway. 

Personally, I stop and look at a book when the cover and title catch my attention. After that, I read the blurb, then move on to sample the book. With physical books, that means I open it up and read the first few pages. On the internet, I use the “look inside” option. Never once does the physical attributes or sexual orientation play into my decision process. Why should it? Talented writers come from all walks of life. In fact I rarely know much of anything about a new to me author other than the name on the book until I’ve finished reading and come across their bio in the back. I never even look at it before deciding on a book, even though most books on Amazon are linked their author’s bio. I don’t care if you’re half alien and live part time on Jupiter. If you write a good story, I will read it. If not, I will pass. 

 And that is the way it should be. One should never look at a book and think, “Wow that looks like it’s something I would really love to read, but oops I can’t. Upon Googling the author, they are the wrong color/sex/religion/sexual orientation. *sigh* I will have to pass on what looks like an incredible story.”

About A. D. Trosper

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