Today I added data on national origin to my booklog, which consists of every long-form work that I’ve read in the past five years. These notations are totally idiosyncratic. In some cases, they veered dramatically from what other people would’ve put. For instance, I did not mark Nabokov as ‘Russian’ because it just didn’t feel right. He seems like he’s as American an author as can be. In some cases, though, I did give people hyphenated identities: for instance, I marked Jhumpa Lahiri as Indian-American and Adrian Tomine as Asian-American.
This listing also probably underestimates the numbers, since I didn’t look up the national origins of every writer. I think it’s very possible that I missed some Canadian, Australian, South African, and British writers in particular. Also, this dramatically underepresents the number of queer and Jewish writers, since I only marked people down as queer or Jewish if they didn’t fit into any other category (for instance, I marked Marcel Proust as ‘French’ and Oscar Wilde as ‘British’). This is obviously not the best way to measure this. Ideally, I ought to have a separate column for queerness and for religion. But the point of this exercise was merely to identify how many books I’d read that were not by straight, white Americans. So please, take this for what it’s worth.