Frequently Asked Questions
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?
Do I have to read fifty books?
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?
- rachelmanija: 50 Books POC
- vassilissa: My own racist fail
- oyceter: IBARW 3: 50 books by POC
- sanguinity: One Year and Fifty-Odd Books Later
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.
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.
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)
- list of community tags:
- author names (tags beginning "a: ")
- genre and/or topic
- ethnicity and/or nationality
- author names (tags beginning "a: ")
- recommendation and suggestion posts
- booklist posts
- our del.icio.us account (booklists, blogs, and websites)
"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:
- debreese_nambe (of American Indians in Children's Literature) shares stats about how few books about POC are written by POC.
- Neesha Meminger at Racialicious discusses industry and market biases that lead to white authors receiving acclaim for publishing about a person of color, while the white author's source material (written by a POC) languishes.
- 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.
However, if you prefer not to count, don’t count.
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.
(<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)
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.
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
- author nationality/ethnicity
- protagonist or location nationality/ethnicity</b> (if different from that of the author)
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.