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50books_poc

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions



General
Why make a special point of reading authors of color?
Is the challenge going to be hard (depressing, unpleasant, just like having homework)?
Who counts as a 'person of color'?
How can I find out if an author is a person of color?
Where can I find book recommendations/suggestions?
I think the comm would be interested in [book by white author]. Can I write a post about it?

Counting
Do I have to read fifty books?
Why count?
What counts as a book?
What kinds of books count?
When does the year start? Who keeps track?

Tags and Posting Reviews
What if I get behind on my reviews?
How should I hide spoilers?
Where are the tags for authors / editors / illustrators? Are these really all the posts on the community for (insert popular author here)?
Who tags the posts? How do I tag posts?


Why make a special point of reading authors of color? What does one get out of the challenge?

We're not going to even try to sum up people's reasons for being here -- it strongly depends on who you are and what background you bring to the challenge. But here, have a sampling of what some members have said about why they did the challenge:

Is the challenge going to be hard (depressing, unpleasant, just like having homework)?

If you want it to be, you can make it so. We’re not going to try to stop you from getting your hard/depressing/unpleasant/just-like-homework groove on.

However, it's not supposed to be like that. This challenge can be enormous fun. While many famous books by people of color (especially the ones you might have read in high school) are about serious topics and/or are depressing, there are also a lot of upbeat books out there. Additionally, whatever your favorite genre is, there are books in that genre that qualify for the comm. (There are probably even more than fifty of them!) There's no reason to be reading books you don't enjoy.

That said, many people find they need to make a mental shift when they first join the comm, and that shift can sometimes be an uncomfortable hump to get over. (Hump, not a mountain.) Trust that it's temporary, and if it's getting to you, consider switching up genres or topics to something a little lighter for a while. Sometimes that helps.

Who counts as a 'person of color'?

Generally speaking, the comm's mods aren't eager to police the boundaries of who's "really" POC, or who's POC "enough" -- if an author has a legitimate claim to being POC (i.e., the author is not an outright fake or wannabe) we'll default toward including them within the comm's scope.

If you're uncertain about a particular author, read through the "
who's poc?" tag to see if previous discussions are helpful. If you're still unsure about whether to include an author, it's okay to ask the comm for advice.

How can I find out if an author is a person of color?

While Google will usually tell you if an author is POC, it will almost never tell you that an author is white. If you can't figure out if an author is POC or not, that usually means the author is not POC.

Possible places to look for information:
  • Google image search could help you find an author photo (which can confirm that someone is POC, but not that they aren't, especially in the cases of mixed-race, Native, North African, and Middle Eastern authors)
  • author websites (or faculty webpages!)
  • Wikipedia article for the author (check both the bio section and the categories list at the bottom of the page)
  • author interviews
  • reference sites like Voices from the Gaps (see del.icio.us booklists for other lists of authors)
One additional note: please don't assume that names will identify someone as POC or not -- names can be acquired by marriage, adoption, or even personal choice (pseudonyms!)

Where can I find book recommendations/suggestions?

If you have links to submit to the del.icio.us account, join del.icio.us, add “50books_poc” to your network, and then save a bookmark to your account with the tag “for:50books_poc”. It’ll get to us.

I think the comm would be interested in [book by white author]. Can I write a post about it?

No. This is a comm for books written by authors of color.

"Authors of color," by the way, does not mean "authors who are oppressed." White Jewish lesbian disabled authors who write about people of color (f'rinstance) are still white authors.

As to why the comm distinguishes between authors of color and white authors writing about characters of color:


Counting

Do I have to read fifty books?

No, you don't. There are at least three ways to participate in the comm. Choose what best suits you:

  • Do the 50 Books Challenge: read fifty books by authors of color in the course of a year. Read your books, count your books, and post your write-ups/reviews/impressions.

  • Do a variant of the challenge: commit to fifty books, but take more than a year if you need to. Or read fifty poems or short stories in a year. Or don't set a target number, but keep count of the books by authors of color that you read in a year. Or some other variant that makes sense for you and pushes you to read more authors of color.

  • Skip the challenge: post recommendations and/or reviews, participate in discussions, and otherwise encourage people to read works by authors of color.
Basically, we just want people to read works by authors of color. We’re pretty open to any degree of participation that furthers that end.

Why count?

People are (generally) really bad at estimating how much they actually did something versus how much they thought about doing something. It’s just the way we’re wired. Also, most people find that the book world generally defaults toward books by white authors, so if you don’t pay attention to what you’re reading, you accidentally end up reading far fewer works by authors of color than you had intended to. Counting is an excellent way of paying attention.

However, if you prefer not to count, don’t count.

What counts as a book?

Anything bound within its own cover. Plus audiobooks and ebooks. Plus other booklike things.

What kinds of books count?

All of them. Short books count. (Who doesn't like short books?) Children's books count. Cookbooks count. Graphic novels, picture books, wordless books, anthologies, books of maps, dictionaries, prayer books, knitting pattern books, books as art, even edible books are all good. As long as they are by people of color.

That said, some participants have chosen to add extra restrictions for themselves, such as to not count manga or re-reads: that's fine. You're choosing this challenge for your own reasons; we trust you to define your terms for yourself. Just make sure that you don't make your additional rules so strict that you burn out.

When does the year start? Who keeps track?

You pick your own starting date; you keep your own count.


Posting Reviews

What if I get behind on my reviews?

Your reviews are not meant to be graded book reports. SRSLY. If you want to do a book-report-like review, go for it, but don't let the review-writing kill your enjoyment of the comm. It's okay to post a couple sentences about your impressions; it's okay to post a list of your books and let people ask about the ones that interest them. This comm is to get you reading authors of color: if participating in the comm is getting in the way, then change how you participate in the comm.

How should I hide spoilers?

Either cut-tag spoilers, or use the following code to highlight-to-read:

(<a title="Skip this Spoiler" href="#skip.firstspoiler">skip spoiler</a>)
<div title="This is a spoiler. Highlight to read." style="color:#666; 
background-color:#666; border:2px red solid"> SPOILER TEXT GOES HERE
</div> <a name="skip.firstspoiler"></a>

Please use this code exactly as written, including the hyperlinks. If you have more than one spoiler, change both instances of "skip.firstspoiler" to "skip.secondspoiler", and so forth.

The spoiler-code should render as such:(
skip spoiler)
Spoilery deliciousness is so spoilery and delicious! Yay for spoiler-codes that help people preserve the spoilery deliciousness!


Where are the tags for authors / editors / illustrators? Are these really all the posts on the community for (insert popular author here)?

Author / editor / illustrator tags are now kept on Delicious. The bulk of the tags have already been transferred; any lingering author tags you see here on LJ will probably only have very recent posts attached to them.

Who tags the posts? How do I tag posts?

The community is transitioning from keeping all tags on LiveJournal, to keeping some tags on LiveJournal and some tags on Delicious (with certain tags duplicated on both sites). We're still working out how the process is going to work in full; please bear with us. For the (extended) moment, however...

Currently, we are moving all author/editor/illustrator tags to Delicious. (LiveJournal has a tag limit that simply does not accommodate the number of authors, editors, and illustrators reviewed on this comm.) We are also working out the tag scheme for nationality, ethnicity, etc., so that those tags can be regularized and duplicated on both sites. When we finalize that tag scheme, we'll be locking down new tag creation and creating a process whereby people can tell us when a new tag needs to be created.

For now, please tag each book by
  • genre
  • subject
  • author nationality/ethnicity
  • protagonist or location nationality/ethnicity</b> (if different from that of the author)
Have a look at existing tags whenever possible to try to minimize tag duplication. (Yes, we know there are already a scad of duplicates in there. Do the best you can; as we said, we're working on getting that sorted out.)

Additionally, please duplicate those tags in the body of the post, especially the finer-grained tags such as tribal affiliations. (Again, there is not enough space on LiveJournal to have all possible tags; if you duplicate your tags in the body of the post, that info can't get lost if we need to purge the least-used tags).

One last caveat: do NOT use the "(delicious)" tag unless you have been instructed to do so. That tag is reserved exclusively for people doing the transition work.


Do you have a question not answered here? Drop it in the comments!

Tags: faq, mod posts
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