Forward Fight Book Bingo in bold font with a black background and rainbow

Reading Diversely with Forward Fight Book Bingo

It’s been a hard summer. With spring 2020 mostly spent indoors from COVID-19, it felt like June and July were going to be much the same. All that changed with the murder of George Floyd, which turned an already anxious atmosphere even more anxious.

I will not go in-depth about my thoughts on the current American administration, nor will I go in-depth about ways you can help the Black Lives Matter movement (by the way, donate if you can). I want to tell the story of my summer reading program: Forward Fight Book Bingo.

Forward Fight Book Bingo is the brainchild of a group of women, one of whom is my friend G.M. Cottrill whom you should check out. As readers, Cottrill and her friends wanted to do their part in furthering the stories of BIPOC and other marginalized voices.

Participants donated $5 for a bingo card, which they fill out by reading books relevant to the contents of each square. The reader with the most bingos chooses the charity  to receive the pot as a donation; the first person to blackout their card is the automatic “winner.” Forward Fight Book Bingo ran from June 15 to August 31. As of the time of this writing, the program has officially closed and the winner has yet to be announced.

As a reader of short fiction, I had a very important question for the organizers: How many short stories counts as a full square? While the average anthology will have over 10 stories, they were merciful and said five short stories counted toward a full square. Phew.

On the Forward Fight Book Bingo Facebook Group, other participants identified themselves as “mood readers,” meaning they read what they feel like reading. I am also a mood reader, which accounts for my final bingo card, presented below. As you can see, if I were smarter about things, I could have had at least one bingo and been working my way towards a second.

my final bingo card. no bingos. six completed, four in-progress, five in queue
My Bingo Card as of 31 August 2020.
Green: Completed | Yellow: In-Progress | Blue: In Queue

As you can probably surmise, I didn’t read to win. The point of this program was to read stories from more diverse writers.

For the past several years, I have avoided novels written by straight, white cis men (with very few exceptions). While this diversified my reading habits by default, there is always room for improvement. For instance, I learned to seek out more BIPOC authors. I already love reading anything by Nnedi Okorafor and N.K. Jemisin, but now I have Rivers Solomon, Tochi Onyebuchi, Tade Thompson, Kathryn Kayembe, and others on my TBR list.

Here is my full reading list for the program. If anything tickles your fancy, shop these titles at my Affiliate KT’s Bookshelf.

Forward Fight Book Bingo: Completed Squares

Transgender/Nonbinary Main Character:

Muslim Author:
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Intersectional Feminism:
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

South Central Asian Author:

Woman of Color Humor: The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

LGBTQ+ AuthorThe Black Tides of Heaven by JY Neon Yang

In Progress Squares

Non-European Folklore/Myth:

Woman of Color Main Character:

Pacific Islander Author:

Native or Indigenous Author:
Cherokee America by Margaret Verble

Further Reading

Post-Program TBR Pile

Fiction Magazines of Note

If you like short fiction and want to diversify your reading material, I recommending the following short fiction magazines:

Again, you can shop these titles at my Affiliate KT’s Bookshelf. If you’d like to hear my thoughts about a specific title, leave a comment and I’ll give you a short review!

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