Tuesday, February 2, 2010

POC Reading Challenge

I found out about the POC (persons of color) reading challenge after recent Twitter/blogging furor over Bloomsbury's "whitewashing" of a character in a new YA/children's book. Between this and (looking over my Goodreads list from the last year) my own appalling lack of reading books featuring non-white protagonists lately, this seems like a good reading project for 2010.

I compiled a list of books I've been wanting to read that fit the category, and if I get to them all, I'll easily fulfill the requirements for Level 4 (10-15 books) this year. This is a bit ambitious for me, both because I know there are many other books I want to read and because many of these are (gasp) adult books, which take me longer to get through than kids'/YA books. Still, it's do-able and I intend to do it!

Here's my list, in no particular order:
  • Children of the New World by Assia Djebar
    • I translated part of a memoir/reflection on her writing for my honors French project in college, so I want to read some more by Djebar. This particular work was given to me by my sister-in-law and has been sitting on my nightstand for too long.
  • La femme sans s├ępulture by Assia Djebar
    • I bought this in France on our honeymoon--5 and a half years ago! Plus, I need to practice my French.
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
    • Seems to important not to have read.
  • Zorro by Isabel Allende
    • I hope this counts; I started reading it but have temporarily set it aside. From what I started, I believe that Zorro is going to be the son of a Spanish man and an American Indian woman.
  • The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation. Vol. I: The Pox Party and Vol. II: The Kingdom on the Waves by M. T. Anderson
    • YA historical fiction set in the American revolution period.
  • All Aunt Hagar's Children: Stories by Edward P. Jones
    • Probably bought this about two years ago--I was interested that it was stories set in Washington, D.C. Need to pick it up off the nightstand and read it!
  • Up at the College by Michele Andrea Bowen
    • A local Durham author who came to speak at our library (I missed it since it was at noon)--it sounds like a fun, light read.
  • A Mercy by Toni Morrison
    • I didn't really like the other Morrison books I've read--Sula and Beloved (I can never hear the hymn "Shall We Gather at the River" without thinking of National Suicide Day and consequently don't like that hymn!)--but I definitely found them interesting, and I'm curious as to how this one ties in with the story of Beloved.
  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
    • A story about slavery during the American revolution by a YA author I really like.
  • The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara
    • I've wanted to read this since I saw the movie (yes, I saw the movie first!).
  • One Day the Soldiers Came: Voices of Children in War by Charles London
    • I don't know if the author is white or not, but my understanding is that the focus of this book is children in Africa, so I am still going to count it in my total. I'll be reading an ARC version that I got at the American Library Association annual conference in 2007, so I have to keep in mind that I have an unfinished version.
I think I'm actually going to start with the last book, once I finish the book I'm currently reading (Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott--a fascinating blend of historical fiction and fantasy, plus it's told in 2nd person!), and I will add updates as I proceed.

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