Read This: TERRA NULLIUS, by Claire G. Coleman

I ordered Claire G. Coleman’s Terra Nullius damn near at random, when I realized that I’d spent all year reading books by women of color and hadn’t managed to find one from Australia yet. A quick Google search for Aboriginal authors and fifteen bucks later and this was on its way. And this book is another great example of why I do stuff like this– if I wasn’t specifically looking for a book by someone like Claire Coleman, I don’t know how this would have crossed my radar otherwise, and I’m damn glad I read it.

You may have noticed that this post isn’t called a “review,” which is usually the way I title– hashtagged, even– most of my posts about books I’ve read. I’m doing that for a reason: I went into this book about as blind as I possibly could have, and as a result certain events in the text absolutely floored me; this is one of those books where you think you’re reading one thing and then pow bang what suddenly you’re reading something completely different and you have to reevaluate everything you’ve read in light of your new knowledge. And therefore my approach to telling people about this book is as follows: most of y’all have been around for a minute, and whether you agree with me or not, if you’re a book person and you follow my blog you probably have a pretty damn good idea how well my taste aligns with yours by now.

Well … trust me on this one. I’m not telling you a damn thing other than that you will enjoy the time you spend with this book. If my word on books has been useful to you in the past, listen to me on this one. I’m not quite in “if you buy this on my say-so and don’t like the book, I’ll send you your money back” territory, but I’m closer than you might think.

On reading projects

I got curious the other day about how much geographical diversity my “52 books by women of color” project was representing. If I play a little fast and loose with immigrants (I have arbitrarily decided second-generation American immigrants count, especially if the author’s books reflect the culture of her home country*) the countries represented by authors I’ve either already read or have ordered books from are represented above. I was a little surprised to discover I hit four countries in Africa before Australia joined the list, and the lack of representation in Europe outside of the UK is at least a little surprising, but there it is. Since it’s still September and I’ll finish book 45 on the list today or tomorrow, I’m probably going to expand it to 52 different authors rather than 52 books, and I’m going to see how many different countries I can hit with the rest of those authors.

Next year’s project, I think, is going to see how many books I can read from authors from different countries– no target number, necessarily, but trying to fill in that map as much as I can. It’ll be interesting to see how much I can fill the map in.

That said, if anybody wants to call out some authors who I might be interested in to round out this current project, please feel free– in particular, female-identifying authors of color from mainland Europe, China, Brazil, Afghanistan or the Middle East would be great.

(*) This sort of boiled down to how they chose to identify themselves in biographies, and I’m not digging very hard. Nghi Vo, for example, was born in Peoria and doesn’t say anything about her family or ancestry in any of her bios that I looked at, so she’s American, despite her books having a very strong Southeast Asian flavor to them. If her bio had referred to her as, say, “Chinese-American” (and I have no idea where her people are from, to be clear) I’d have counted her for China. Or, for another example, Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia, so that counts even though she lives in America now.

#52booksbywomenofcolor, August update

I’m 3/4 of the way to my goal with only 2/3 of the year gone, so it’s possible I may be able to convert this from 52 books to 52 authors by the end; school starting and eye surgery have slowed me down a bit, but that should still be doable. At any rate, here’s the most recent batch, some of which I reviewed and some I didn’t; feel free to ask questions if you have them.

#52booksbywomenofcolor: June update

I’ve officially started my 26th book, which is the halfway point, still with three weeks left in June, so I’m a bit ahead of schedule. I’m continuing to post these to Instagram as I read them (follow me!) but I figure quarterly updates on the blog are OK too. Let me know if there’s anything that I didn’t officially review that you want to know more about.


5:00 PM, Wednesday June 10: 1,994,834 confirmed cases, so we may still hit 2 million today, and 112,647 Americans dead.

#52booksbywomenofcolor: March update

You may recall that I’m doing this little project where I want to read 52 books by women of color this year. I’m on track right now, as this is the last week of March and I’m just over 1/4 of the way to that magic number– technically, The Book of M is book 14 and I’m reading book 15 right now. That said, I haven’t mentioned all of these books on the site, so I thought I’d do a quick cover gallery for the first quarter of the year.

So. So far, 1/4 of the way through #52booksbywomenofcolor, I’ve read the following:

I’ve done official reviews of a few of them, but not all; let me know if there’s anything any of y’all are curious about.