Being comfortable is not a bad thing. Sofas, beds, sports bras. But this election has shown me that I’m too comfortable in my very blue bubble. Not enough exploring of perspectives vastly different from the ones clearly visible through the suburban New York window in my home office where I work each day in my very comfortable sweats.
As I considered my goals for 2017 (things like sell the third novel and write the fourth), I decided to challenge myself to explore points of view to which I’m otherwise not sufficiently exposed. How best to do that? I considered activism, volunteering, and travel, but eventually settled on the solution that while being the most comfortable is also the most realistic, achievable, and in my case, enjoyable: reading.
Simply, my goal is to read a wider variety of authors and subject matters in 2017. It’s not that I don’t already venture beyond the New Releases in Fiction table, but I could certainly venture further. Unfortunately, I read too slowly to make this more comprehensive, and my list may even be too ambitious as it is. There’s my own writing to do. And my kids need to eat and get places. And I often find myself like a moth to light when a word-of-mouth with a fetching cover comes out, so I have to leave time for those. While I realize this is just a start, it’s also just that, a start.
For structure, I’m mostly following the “monthly observance” calendar that we Americans use to schedule rallies and social media posts. I filled in my own topics for months that don’t have an official designation. (I’m like that.)
See below for my preliminary list. And, the more the merrier at this party, so please read and follow along throughout the year at my blog. Have better suggestions? Please tweet me @susieschnall or leave a comment.
[Methodology: I chose books that deal with the subject matter or are written by authors from that realm/region. I have read extensively in a few of these subject areas so some of the obvious selections might not be listed.]
JANUARY: Slavery and Human Trafficking
FEBRUARY: African-American/Black History and Awareness/Racism
MARCH: Women’s History and Feminism
APRIL: Muslim Heritage
MAY: Asian Pacific Heritage
JUNE: LGBTQ Awareness
JULY: Working Class America
AUGUST: Indian Heritage
SEPTEMBER: Hispanic-Latino Heritage
OCTOBER: African Heritage
NOVEMBER: American Indian Heritage
DECEMBER (Leaving open for books I didn’t get to.)
Susie Orman Schnall is a writer and author who lives in New York with her husband and three young boys. Her award-winning debut novel, On Grace (SparkPress 2014), is about fidelity, friendship, and finding yourself at 40. Her second novel, The Balance Project (SparkPress 2015), is about work-life balance and is inspired by her popular interview series The Balance Project. Visit susieschnall.com for more information.