The New Year is a natural time of year to make resolutions — to set new habits and start new trends. It’s the perfect time to think about reading, particularly as the temperatures plummet. Here at the FOLD, we like to take this time to encourage readers to look at their bookshelves and book piles — to ask yourself an important question at the start of the New Year about your reads, past and present: who’s missing?
When we ask people this question, people often tell us that they read for escape and for enjoyment. They don’t think about who or what they read. Some say they prefer not to think about it: “I just like to read good books.”
So do we. But we know that left to the whims of our own knowledge and “preferences” or the visibility of titles in bookstores and public spaces, we’re all prone to miss someone or something important in our reading — a group that’s “complicated” or “different” or “hard”, a topic that’s difficult or uncomfortable.
From genre to race to ability and more, mainstream info on books and “best of lists” are not known for their comprehensive diversity – for reflecting a wide range of people and communities, for reflecting intersectionality within the typical checklists for diversity. Which means that in order to read more diversely, readers have to make a conscious decision. It’s got to be something YOU look for.
Why, you say (we get that question a lot too)? Because it’s important. Because reading about communities other than your own builds empathy and strengthens community.
We’ve put together this list of 12 challenges to guide your reading this year. And we’re adding a twist to help improve your results and to bolster your reading pile with goodness. Every month, we’ll pick one challenge and provide a few suggested titles. So check back on our dedicated Reading Challenge page all year long for updates and suggestions.
And if there’s a topic that’s got you a little uncomfortable, we encourage you to find a title in that very category and read it FIRST. It will make a world of difference. Don’t believe us? Still aren’t sure? Come to the FOLD. Meet our authors May 3-6 in Brampton, Ontario. We think you’ll be pretty inspired by their writing.