Hello Guys !
As you must’ve guessed from the title, I have a confession to make that I’m not very proud of. Not at all. My reading isn’t diverse and I’m very embarrassed about that. And I don’t mean genre wise because I read plenty of genres, you name it, I read it (Almost hehe) but when it comes to character and author diversity, I am crap. I stick mostly to white people in both of them, and 99% of the characters I read about are straight (Okay I made that number up but you get the point) which in itself isn’t bad but it is kind of funny because I am a Muslim person of color so I should encourage Own voices authors and read everything they have to say because every story deserves to be told and read.
“It is the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization.”
What does that mean for me as a reader I hear you asking ? It means that we shouldn’t limit your reading to one culture, religion, sexual orientation or group of people. We read about white protagonists ? That’s good, now add to that black people, latinos, Arabs, native Americans, Indians etcetera etcetera… We can also read about Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists among other religions. Straight, queer, trans, asexual and so on and so forth. Let’s also not forget about illnesses and diseases. All voices deserve to be heard to the same extent.
This will not only help the authors but it will also help US get out of our little bubble and learn more about what’s happening around us, right under our noses or at the other side of the globe.
I quite frankly wasn’t aware of it. I didn’t know that diverse reading was actually a thing. I just picked up whatever book I thought was interesting and most books I heard about were popular books and let’s face it, most popular books don’t promote diversity.
Before blogging and interacting with people from all kinds of backgrounds, I didn’t know that I needed to read diverse. Yes, I said “need” because these last few weeks I’ve been thinking of it a lot and it’s become a “need” more than it is a “want”. It’s like this whole new world opened up to me and I can’t wait to explore it.
Well everything began with this hashtag called #Diversebookbloggers on Twitter that was initiated by Naz @ Read Diverse Books I believe. I started quietly following their threads and discussions there. I know what you’re thinking. I am a “diverse” person by definition so I should engage in those discussions. But I honestly felt unworthy of it and kind of ashamed of how uninformed on the matter I was. I just fished for every Q and A they had haha, I craved knowledge on the matter.
So I learnt a few things that I didn’t particularly like with the main one being that Own Voices authors are not very encouraged in the publishing area, they have to struggle more to get their stories out there and heard, and that they won’t become popular unless us, readers, decide to listen to what they have to say and promote their books. That’s when I decided it was time to step up. I pledge to read more diverse from now on, I am not saying that I’ll drastically change my reading ways but I’m going to start including more Own Voice books. But it took me a while to finally take the plunge and just do it. Why? Because I didn’t know where to start, I was overwhelmed by everything I just learnt and I needed time to process it and see how to go about it and I am ready now. #Diversebookbloggers have converted me haha.
From left to right, top to bottom :
- FROM MY SISTER’S LIPS – Naima B. Robert
- LABYRITH LOST – Zoraida Cordova
- MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD – Fransisco X. Stork
- SAREE – Su Dharmapala
- WRITTEN IN THE STARS – Aisha Saeed
- AMERICANAH – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- MORE HAPPY THAN NOT – Adam Silvera
- AKATA WITCH – Nnedi Okorafor
- JULIET TAKES A BREATH – Gabby Rivera
- WHEN MICHAEL MET MINA – Randa Abdel-Fattah
Some of these books I discovered on my own, most of them though I got off of Naz’s blog (Thank you so much !). Special notice to From My Sisters’ lips which I discovered through Fatima @ Noteable Pad during one of our many awesome late night conversations a few days ago and I can’t wait to get my hands on it -which has proven to be very difficult- and read all of the stories it holds inside.
*The titles are direct links to the Goodreads pages
That’s it until next time.
Are you a Diverse Reader? Have you always been? What are some of the best Own Voice books you have read?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.
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