I have never been someone that sets monthly TBR's. It's never been my way of reading, instead I based my reading off what I felt like picking up at that moment. Sometimes I'd have books I had a deadline to read either for a blog tour or an agreed on review. Within that, I felt I had always read diversely, be that reading a book with themes that don't relate to me and/or a book by an own voices author. Yet looking back over wrap ups there was a real imbalance in my reading.
I realised in not choosing and curating a TBR there was a vast difference in the amount of BIPOC/LGBTQ/Disability/ books to those of abled-bodied, white, cis male/female centric or authored books. I started to look into why that was, and the most obvious answer was the books I owned. On ratio alone the chance of me staring at my shelf and going 'this one' today usually meant I'd be picking a book that wasn't 'diverse' in any way shape or form. I had never thought deeply about what book I was picking up/requesting etc beyond the obvious 'do I like the sound of it'.
Now, I have begun to look into who writes this book, is it an own voices novel, what is the representation like, are there any own voices reviews of the book I can read/watch. Additionally, I've made the decision to start doing small monthly TBR's. At the end of the day, I'm still a mood reader so they may be subject to change but I want to ensure that I am actively reading more diversely. I've got lists upon lists of books already on my shelves to read that relate to different topics, lists of books to check out. You name it, I've probably got a list for it... However, I'm always looking for more education around this topic so please let me know if you have any recommends or if I ever get anything wrong. Like all of us, I'm still learning and growing.
With that in mind, here is my partial TBR for July.
P.S. yes, I know we're part way through the month...
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Spoiler: I've already read and loved this.
I've had American Street on my shelf for a while and have recently added Pride to my shelves after hearing wonderful things about it. American Street is an own voices novel about Fabiola Toussaint a Haitian-American immigrant. When the book opens Fabiola is travelling to America with her mother, to live with her Aunt and cousins in Detroit. Whilst Fabiola is allowed into the US as she was born there and later moved to Haiti, her mother was detained and denied access as she previously overstayed her visa. There are a few elements of magic within the story that appear in the form of Voudou, a Haitian practice Fabiola brings with her.
As I said I've already read and loved this book. A review will be coming soon!
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Toni Adeyemi
I read and adored Tomi's first novel Children of Blood and Bone when it came out, I can't believe it's taken me so long to get around to picking up the newest book, Children of Virtute and Vengence. The series is steeped in West African Mythology with an elemental based magic system not too dissimilar to Avatar the Last Airbender. However, COBAB has more complexity. Not only are there elemental Maji but those that can speak to animals, heal, see through dreams and even bring about death.
A fantastic series and I can't wait to pick up the next book.
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
I'm about a third into Of Fire and Stars one at the minute and I've fallen head over heels for the characters. I love both Mare and Dennaleia. They're so very different and I'm here for all the blossoming feels. I love how they're heading into a tentative friendship from such a fraught first few encounters. I also love how Mare isn't your typical 'Princess'. She reminds me of Lou from Serpent & Dove.
I'm excited and scared to see how this book turns out! I've just ordered and pre-ordered the prequel and sequel to this book.
Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
This is perhaps the book I know the least about but the authors of this book have been on my radar for quite a while. For those unaware Christina Lauren is a pen name for an author duo. Autoboyography follows Tanner who had been relatively out and proud as Bisexual whilst living in California, but moving to Utah has sent him somewhat back into the closet. During his final year, he takes on the challenge of his friend summer, to join a programme that tasks it's members with writing a book in four months. And the guy leading the class is rather dreamy and Mormon.
I'm so excited, I've never read about Mormon religion before!
That's my TBR for July.
What are you planning to read?
Thanks for reading,