Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm baaack

I didn’t get to as many of the “grown-up” books as I wanted to during my time away. But that’s okay, because I’ve been reading library books!

I realized during my break that lately I’ve been reading books that I feel obligated to read rather than books I want to read. Sometimes these two categories overlap, such as with ExtraordinaryPenny Dreadful, The Mockingbirds, Nightshade City, and The Kneebone Boy, just to name a few. But basically, I’ve been reading a bunch of ARCs. Don’t get me wrong, I love ARCs and I’m grateful for all the ARCs and review copies that come my way. But since ALA, where I picked up BAGS of ARCs and passed out my card to more publishers and publicists than I can remember, I feel like I’ve been drowning in them.

And I don’t even have that many.

But I’ve still been feeling very burnt out on this whole reading boatloads of YA/MG books and writing reviews of them. By giving myself a break from the pile of books I feel like I need to read, I realized that I do still really want to read YA/MG books and I still have a lot to say about them. I just want to pick what I read and when I’m going to read it! So, from a personal standpoint, I’m going to be more particular about what titles I accept for review, even if that means I’m removed from a few people’s pub lists. I’m tired of feeling bogged down by my blog.

From a more “professional,” or at least "blog goals" standpoint, I’m going to be more picky about what I review because I feel like I’ve moved away from what I wanted to do with my blog in the first place, that is to highlight YA/MG books featuring or written by POC and/or positively portraying members of the LGBTQ community. Looking over what I’ve reviewed since ALA, you wouldn’t know that’s supposed to be my focus. Brought to my attention by MissAttitude and further explained by Zetta and the CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center), the publishing statistics for books written by and/or about POC are abysmally low. According to the CCBC numbers, if you add the number of books written by POC to the number of books written about POC (and in reality there is most likely overlap with those numbers), 18% of books for young people are written by or about POC. If the pile o’books I picked up at ALA is any kind of a representative sample, that statistic is a bit high. In the last three months I've read and reviewed a total of three books where the main character is not white, and only one book that positively portrays members of the LGBTQ community (something that is not tracked by the CCBC). It makes me sad.

But, as the title of this post says, I'm back. Back from my blog break and back from a stint of reading what is handed to me rather than what is calling to me from the library or my TBR pile.

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