Interesting blog post about diversity and reading in the United States. Read full post here.
Last night, PBS announced the winner of their Great American Read, a poll to determine “America’s Favorite Novel.” The winner was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, a story about racial tolerance that received 242,275 votes from a total of nearly 4.3 million cast. According to PBS, the top 100 books were chosen by using the public opinion polling service “YouGov” to conduct “a demographically and statistically representative survey asking Americans to name their most-loved novel.” Once the Top 100 list was established, voting was opened to everyone to determine the winner and rankings of all 100 titles. Given our focus on diversity and inclusion, we wondered how representative the list looked when compared to America’s demographics. Were authors of color represented? How did their books fare in the poll? The results are a bit disheartening, if not surprising:
- One series by an author of color made it into the Top 10 (Outlander series)
- Three books by authors of color (Outlander series, The Joy Luck Club and The Color Purple) made it onto the Top 50
- Only 19 books by authors of color made it onto the Top 100
With poll-based lists like this one, it’s easy to swipe aside critiques about a lack of diversity by saying, “You can’t make people choose a book as their favorite!”
Thanks Penelope for the link!