Best Book Lists for June 5-June 11

Book lists, yes, but first, it's time for publishing to change

Happy Friday,

Your book lists are below. But first, this week protests against systemic racism reached the publishing industry. It’s about time. As someone who writes about and interviews writers, I’m shocked by how few writers of color are published.

That’s not a knock on the non-Black writers who do get published. It’s a criticism of the industry.

We’re trained in the U.S. to believe in us vs. everyone else. If someone gets something, we worry there won’t be anything left for us. In publishing, this manifests with writers competing against each other. If that writer gets a book deal, I may not.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be true that a non-white writer gets published without it meaning a white writer does not. If a publisher says this doesn’t fit their business model, then their model needs to change. There are many small, independent presses and nonprofits across this country publishing books from a diverse body of authors. (I serve on the Board of one, Day Eight.)

We need need more books from diverse authors and poets. And we need to pay them the same as anyone else when we do.

It doesn’t have to mean a white author doesn’t get a book deal if a non-white writer does. It means we need to punch up, change the system. Some ideas for how we can do this:

  • Buy books written by writers of color

  • Buy books published by small publishers and nonprofits

  • Give money to nonprofits supporting our literary arts

  • Support local bookstores, which don’t rely on algorithms and media campaigns to sell books

There are other ways, too, I’m sure. If you have an idea you’d like to share, you can send it to me by replying to this email. Together, we can broaden publishing and expand the stories we get to discover, read, and love.

Thanks for reading,

P.S. Below are a few links to relevant news from the past week.

June & New Book Lists

Summer Book Lists

In the Now Book Lists

Shop the Bidwell Hollow Bookstore

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