The Final Challenge for Reading Writers of Color 2021: Published This Year

This post is part of the Reading Writers of Color 2021 challenge hosted by Lonely Cryptid Media’s staff writer and editor, Dan Michael Fielding.

Wow! What a year! As I scraped the frost off my car this morning I thought back to where I was last year, already researching, preparing, and writing posts for the challenge. The first post I wrote was actually the guide to 50 books by scientists of color. That post sparked the impetus for this challenge, which I hope to continue into next year.

This month’s challenge to read a book published this year is a chance to celebrate new writing while also reflecting on our participation in the challenge over the past year. As you choose what book you’d like to read in December I’d love to hear about how the challenge affected you.

There are plenty of things to consider! Is there a book you read that was particularly meaningful or interesting for you? I’m most grateful for reading Walking on Cowrie Shells by Nana Nkweti. This excellent short story collection introduced me to a new author I’m excited to read more from.

What books didn’t you finish? Are there any books on your did not finish list that you’d like to return to later? If you struggled to finish books this year and you want to participate again next year it may be worth considering modifying the challenge and reading short stories or essays, or combining challenge prompts.

I struggled to finish books towards the end of the year, not because the books weren’t excellent (they were!) but because of general life anxiety getting in the way. I struggled to start reading and wasn’t able to get into the flow. I’m going to try to remember to be kind to myself this month and going into next year and pick things that are shorter or have an easier point of entry.

How has your thinking about what you read changed throughout the challenge? I keep returning to what I learned while writing the award winning authors post. There are so many wonderful authors of color whose work isn’t being celebrated, and that is such a shame. I was going to say that I hope conversations will shift, but truthfully I (and I’m sure many others) am tired of waiting for that to happen. It’s long past time for us to be dealing seriously with systemic racism.

Finally, what feedback do you have for me as a challenge runner? What would you like to see done differently in 2022 (even if you can’t participate next year)? Remember you can share feedback on our twitter to keep everything in one place.

As you choose your book for December keep in mind what your reading habits were over the past year. What book will you choose?

Text on a flower background. Text reads: "Reading Writers of Color 2021. Read a book published this year."

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15 thoughts on “The Final Challenge for Reading Writers of Color 2021: Published This Year

  1. I really appreciated this challenge, although I didn’t end up participating every month. Like you, general life anxiety got in my way as well. I’m going to do my best for this month, but my library doesn’t always get new books that quickly (especially not without a long wait). I don’t really have any feedback for next year, beyond looking forward to seeing the new prompts! Personally I’m going to try to read more diverse authors for next year as I did end up reading a lot of Asian authors, simply because of where I live.


    1. Thanks for your participation! Bummer about your library not getting new books that quickly. Do you know if they participate in any ebook services? Sometimes you can check out ebooks with your library card as well.


  2. I picked two books for November and both are on my livingroom table, largely untouched. For December I havenโ€˜t chosen anything yet. End of the year reading fatigue! But I appreciate the challenge, it helped me to expand my reading this year. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So many good books came out this year! I’ve already finished a couple 2021 books this month; tonight I finished Huda F Are You?, a YA graphic novel about being a teen Muslim American. I’ll also have my best of 2021 reviews going up in an article shortly, and I’m happy to post the link here to the round up (with other authors) if folks are interested!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just finished “Harlem Shuffle” by Colson Whitehead for this month. I liked it, but I wasn’t blown away. I loved “Underground Railroad” and in my opinion “Harlem Shuffle” could stand up to it.

    As a general feedback: I really appreciate this challenge. I managed to follow this challenge the whole year and it was a great way to make sure, that my reading list was diverse. I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the scientist and non-fiction tasks, not because it was too hard to find anyone but because I prefer reading fiction, because I read a lot of scientific books for my studies.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It wasn’t until I finished my book that I remember to I hadn’t mentioned what I planned to read! I picked Emma Dabiri’s “What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition”. I absolutely loved her earlier book “Twisted: the Tangled History of Black Hair Culture”. She is definitely a writer whose work I want to follow. I’m already looking forward to her next book.


  6. This month I was working on both this month’s challenge and as many of the earlier challenges I missed…I can check off the book by a local author (Likeness of Being by Nathan Richardson, an old acquaintance/friend of a friend) but haven’t quite been able to finish this month’s challenge book, Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge. It’s wonderful though, so I’ll definitely be finishing it up ASAP!

    I’m starting to look at books for the 2022 challenge but will probably also try to get more of the categories I missed this year.


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