Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reading Project 2014: Spec Fic by Women of Color

I did finish reading THE STAND, finally, on December 28, but I want my first post of 2014 to be about this year's personal reading project. In the next post I'll cover THE STAND, and what I thought of it.

For the past few years my husband has done his own reading projects -- in 2012 he read great works of the 20th century by decade -- and I like the idea of picking a theme and sticking to it all year. My bookshelves and Nook are full of books I bought with every intention of reading, and then just...didn't get around to it. Maybe if I have a goal in mind I'll stick with the books I intend to read this year.

I chose speculative fiction by women of color because that seemed to be a popular theme on the blogs I read in 2013. As a woman writer, and as the mother of two half-Latino children, I feel it my duty -- my awesomely fun duty -- to support my sisters of color who write in this white, male-dominated field. My Cuban-American husband and I have talked often of the two dominant types of narratives most white Americans seem to expect from people of color: the sad and horrifying poverty/war memoirs, and what he calls "culture tourism," where the story is essentially little more than a stage to watch the "others" live their strange and exotic lives. Where are all the good Latino vampires? The African-American witches? The Asian shapeshifters? Where are the types of stories I like to read? And where are those stories with POC as main characters and as most of the characters, and not just tokens?

After two days of research on Goodreads, various blogs, and word-of-mouth, here is the list I've chosen so far:

  • DAWN, by Octavia Butler 
  • TIGER EYE by Marjorie M. Liu 
  • WITCHES OF EAST END by Melissa de la Cruz 
  • SIGNAL RED by Rimi B. Chatterjee 
  • HUNTRESS by Malinda Lo 
  • KALPA IMPERIAL by Angelica Gorodischer
  • WHO FEARS DEATH by Nnedi Okorafor
  • AKATA WITCH by Nnedi Okorafor
  • THE ISLAND OF ETERNAL LOVE by Daína Chaviano

This list is by no means exhaustive, and I'm happily open to suggestions. I'll also stay posted on this blog about what I'm reading and what I think. (I promise to do better than I did with THE STAND updates.)

What about you? Does anyone else do a reading project for new years? 


  1. Cool idea, Meredith. I'm sure you're well aware of it, but if you haven't, you should check out the Words Without End lists (though I, myself, have failed to properly take advantage!).

  2. What a great list, thank you Steven! There are some good classics on there, as well as titles and authors I've never heard of. It's perfect!