My Diverse Reading – Or Lack there Of

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.

Unpopular (7)

1

“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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

From left to right, top to bottom :

  1. FROM MY SISTER’S LIPS Naima B. Robert
  2. LABYRITH LOST Zoraida Cordova
  3. MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD Fransisco X. Stork
  4. SAREE Su Dharmapala
  5. WRITTEN IN THE STARS Aisha Saeed
  6. AMERICANAH Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  7. MORE HAPPY THAN NOTAdam Silvera
  8. AKATA WITCH Nnedi Okorafor
  9. JULIET TAKES A BREATH Gabby Rivera
  10. 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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59 thoughts on “My Diverse Reading – Or Lack there Of

  1. I really need to read more diverse books as well, but since I live in The Netherlands the selection of English (ya) books is already smaller and it’s more likely they’ll buy the popular books (and sadly diverse books are usually less popular, though I do feel like they’re gaining in popularity!). I really want to read More Happy Than Not and Juliet Takes A Breath as well! I haven’t heard of the others, but I’m going to check them out 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can relate to this post so much!! I haven’t read many diverse books either and it’s for all the reasons you listed. I am definitely trying to broaden my reading horizon and Naz’s blog has helped me so much. I feel like I’ve learnt so much since I’ve joined the blogging community and am constantly educating myself. I love the list you put together! A bunch are already on my TBR, but I’m definitely going to check out the ones that aren’t. Great post, Fadwa ♥

    Liked by 2 people

    • Naz’s blog is such a precious source for diverse books, his initiative is really great 😊
      Yes me too ! So so much, I feel like this community opened my eyes to so many new thingd that I didn’t know of before.
      Okay, I hope you like them all !
      Thank you so much Lauren ❤

      Like

  3. I understand where you’re coming from. However, to be honest, I don’t feel the need to pick authors just because of diversity. When I like the synopsis, I’ll consider reading it, I don’t really look at the author. Yes, I do have my preferences in genre, but it doesn’t really matter to me who wrote the book. I could, of course, look at different sources to inform me about new books, but again I don’t feel the need the really look for it. If I like it, I like it, no matter who the author is. Naz’s blog is a great source of course! I’ll be working on my sources, but still; no feeling of need, but maybe a little want.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was the same way too but I recently changed my mind. I feel like if I don’t go out of my way to find these books I could miss out on some real gems because they aren’t advertized properly. And obviously I’m not reading a book because it is diverse 😁 but I’ll find it because of that and then read the synopsis to see if it is something I could eventually like, I won’t shove books down my own throat just for diversity’s sake 😂 where is the fun in that ?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha I don’t know, some people could’ve been aliens as far as my brain is concerned :’) And heej, some people actually do that. But, I understand though. Since I’ve started following Naz I’ve seen some interesting stuff passing by, so I’ll just keep my eyes open for the interesting stuff. I just saw a book passing by in his book haul post called sorcerer to the crown, that one seemed interesting ^_^

        Liked by 1 person

      • 😂😂 omg I relate so much with that, but well I’m willing to try new things 😊
        I know right !! It just doesn’t make sense to me.
        Yes ! I saw him talking about it on Twitter and it’s been picking my interest for a few days now.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I do understand and respect the way you think about your life as a reader. Many people just read what they find interesting and what they know they will like. We all deserve to read great books! I used to be the same.
      But as I got older, I began to care passionately about representation in the publishing industry. Because if I only read what I thought was interesting, that was generally determined by what was popular — which in most cases are books by straight/white/cis/abled authors. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. I really do want to emphasize that. But we have to acknowledge that reading “blindly” or as you put it, not feeling the need to pick authors just because of diversity, it usually leads to reading the stories of white authors. Because the publishing industry has historically been skewed to marginalize people of color, then I felt I MUST go out of my way to find these authors. This is important to me, personally, and I think it was a necessary step in my life as a reader. Not everyone has to do what I do, though. I’m just here to promote and talk about these books incessantly so that readers like you can hopefully find a book you might like and eventually read it! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you so much for using my blog as a resource ❤
    I'm curious to know what you will read first. You have some amazing books on that list!
    Labyrinth Lost looks so good, but I haven't read any of Zoraida Cordova's books YET. Thanks for reminding me!

    You've made my day, Fadwah.
    I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to adjust your reading habits. You can still read all the books you've always loved, but there is plenty of room for reading diversely as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aw, Fadwa, I love your honesty. Trying to read more diverse books can be difficult at times, as it requires you to actually go out and search for them. As you said, they might not be as popular, but it doesn’t make them any less important. I have a LOT of recommendations for when you finish these. I think you’d love anything written by Elif Shafak (she’s a Turkish author) – but in particular I like The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love. I also bought My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk a few months ago (haven’t read it yet) but it looks very promising. I’m always looking for recommendations too, so if ever you find a book that you think I’d like, let me know 🙂 Naz is always introducing great books too.

    And I’m so glad you’re interested in reading From My Sisters’ Lips! Haha our late night bookish conversations were lovely. We had so much fun! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Fatima ❤ It just didn’t feel right foe me to take this step without talking to you guys about it, because I already share a lot of my reasing jourbey with you and this is an important step.
      Oh wow, recommendations 😍 I’ll check all of this out right away. And of course I’ll keep you in mind and recommend any books I come across that I know are up your alley.
      Hahaha yes we never fail to make each other laugh 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Naz is such a great person–I love his blog! I guess I’ve always been subconsciously aware that I read a lot of books about and by white people and that I’d like to change that, but I think that is due on a large part to the fact that most of the books available to me are not very diverse.

    I’ve become more consciously aware of the need to read more diverse books in the past year, and I’d really like to start actively searching them out! I did pick up I Am Malala at Barnes & Noble the other day, and I’m really excited to read it this summer.

    Serena | poetree

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am definitely not a diverse reader! I really should broaden my horizons a bit, me being a person of colour and all, but a turn off for some of those books is that it focuses too much on what makes them different. I’m going to doing a post on this anyway, but still no excuse for me having such narrow reading lists diversity wise. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Astra, glad to have you back ! I missed you 😊❤
      I guess we are the same in that way, that was my problem too for a long time but I found that in a lot of cases it really isn’t the case, because the story as a whole is set in a different country with a different culture etcetera.
      I can’t wait to read your post on this ! Thank you.

      Like

  8. I loved this post! I totally get where you’re coming from. I’ve been rather ignorant of the whole diversity thing as well. Definitely going to work on that and I’ve already gotten a few books that show more diversity.

    By the way, I’ve heard great things about More Happy Than Not! Can’t wait to read your take on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much 😊 I was kind of nervous to post it but everyone has been so great !
      Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one, but that also shows that we have to raise awareness towards those books and get more people into diversity.
      Yes me too, and I can’t wait to finally read it !

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I experienced a similar shift in perspective a few years ago, so you are definitely not alone! Thank you for sharing such a lovely post. I try to balance out my reading now – I still read some of the mainstream books (which usually means white, cis, het, able-bodied authors) but I’m quite conscious of when I read more of those stories now. I also end up craving books that go beyond that – I guess my approach to reading books now is one of co-existence – treating and reading diverse stories as I would any other book that came my way. I agree, it’s definitely worth finding gems. I hope you enjoy your future TBR! I liked Americanah, Juliet Takes A Breath, Marcelo in the World and More Happy Than Not. I have an eye on some of the others too, so will let you know if our reading overlaps!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It feels so good to come across people who went through this before me so I know that I am on the right path. Thank you for that comfort 😊
      I totally understand what you mean, that craving is what made me seek out more diverse books and I can’t wait to dive into them. Oh! That is good to know. Okay, I can’t wait to know your thoughts on the rest.

      Like

  10. Picking up books becomes so natural of a habit that we forget what each book we buy implies. I am no diverse reader as well. I’m a POC too (which sounds so weird coming out from me) and I barely read my own country’s literature. It’s kinda embarassing to admit that I’ve read more foreign books than local ones. I think before I could read diverse books, I should start appreciating my own. Haha.

    I’ll keep this post in mind whenever I’m in the lookout of books. It’s good to see even more diverse reads around the blogsphere. Your Tbr list is all new to me so I can’t wait to see what you think about them!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. To my own shame, I have to admit that I don’t read nearly enough diverse books either. I am just not seeking them out specifically, but then I also rarely notice those things and then I feel bad about it. I have read quite a lot of LGBT+ books but I would have an abysmally terrible time at finding books with POC or indigenous characters on my shelf and that’s just bad. I do feel the urge to explore that a lot more in the future though.

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. Totally love this post! I’m also currently trying to push myself to read more diverse books lately. I’m so interested to read books about LGBT because like you I’m a Muslim and LGBT is this taboo and sensitive issue in my country. I also just realized that I almost never read books with POC as main characters. There was the time when I read Winter by Marissa Meyer but I didn’t even realized she was a POC until someone pointed it out to me. Thank you for sharing 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad !
      Yes that’s exactly it, here LGBT isn’t something we talk about so growing up I didn’t pay much attention but now I really want to broaden my knowledge of the world 😊
      Oh I don’t know why, I imagine winter as POC even with her little appearances in Cress (I still haven’t read Winter )

      Like

  15. I’ve never sought out books just based on the heritage of an author or main character and I’m not planning to do so any time soon. But I do support the added influx of diverse characters, I love learning about new cultures and reading more books based on myths and legends of various nations. Thanks for compiling a list of diverse books for me to check out!

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Haha it’s okay! On that list I actually only read More Happy than Not but I definitely kept my promise and read a lot more diverse books. Most of which are favorites now 😊
      Americanah I’m still trying to get a hold on but no luck thus far!

      Like

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