#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: I am not Invisible – An Indian American experience

Kav

Hello Hello! I’m still on hiatus but this is an important blog post for AAPI month. I also wanted to mention that this post is a little different since Kav is a Booktuber and not a Book blogger but I still wanted to have them on my blog because they’re awesome.

When you hear the word ‘Asia,’ what do you think of? Continue reading

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WORD WONDERS’ TBR EXPANSION : Books with main F/F pairings

f-f pairings

Hello friends !

So. Today is Valentine’s Day and I’m back with a recommendations post. While trying to figure out what to choose as this month’s “representation” I remembered that for some folks the month is aaaaall about romance and things like that, which is great if you’re into it but if you’ve followed me for a while, you know that this is my third february blogging and I’ve never done anything different to celebrate this date buuuut I figured since a lot of people read romance this month and that f/f relationships are severely overlooked, I decided it’s the perfect time to highlight them. So yeah, for this month, I will be recommending books with female/female relationships.

I will try to include content warnings for as many of them. The ones that I couldn’t find content warnings for will have a (*) in front of their titles. Continue reading

6 Things Diverse Books added to my Life

Diverse books

Hello guys !

I wanted to save this post for my second blog anniversary in two months which then roughly coincides with my one year anniversary of reading mostly diverse books (around 80-90% of my reading is diverse in one way or another) but then realized I’m gonna be on Hiatus at that time (exams, pray for me) and since next month will be dedicated to all the end of the year posts (I’M SO EXCITED!!!) then this seemed like the right time to just gush about all the things diverse books have added to my life, which are… a lot. Continue reading

WORD WONDERS’ TBR EXPANSION : Books with Native/Indigenous Main Characters

Native indigenous MCs

Hello guys !

I’m back again with a recommendations post that I quite frankly have been procrastinating for a couple weeks, like everything blogging lately to be honest, I’m just having a hard time doing anything blog related these days because of stress and whatnot but THAT’S NOT THE POINT. The point here is I’m back with a new recommendations post, I had planned a completely different topic for this month but as it was brought to my attention that November is Native American Heritage month, I thought it would be more fitting to come up with a list of books by Native / Indigenous authors and boost those to the best of my capability.

I got most of these books through Weezie @ Weezie’s Whimsical books and the recommendations they bless us with on Twitter so I’d recommend checking their blog out and giving them a follow because they do a lot for the community.

I will try to include content warnings for as many of them. The ones that I couldn’t find content warnings for will have a (*) in front of their titles

Continue reading

#DiverseBookbloggersDiscuss: How ADHD affects my reading

 

Ceillie.pngHello guys !

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 12, but the diagnosis didn’t really surprise me, or my parents. I’ve always been impulsive, overeager, and regularly either hyperfocused or unfocused. I would often tell people “oh yeah, I know how to do this thing,” whether that thing was playing the guitar, swimming, or reading aloud. It often got me into trouble, and embarrassed when it was proven I couldn’t actually do the thing I said I could. Not being able to swim as well as I said I could as a kid meant that I had several very unsafe experiences in the deep end of pools. Continue reading

WORD WONDERS’ TBR EXPANSION : Book with Anxiety representation

Anxiety rep.png

Hello guys !

A whole month has gone by and it’s time again for a recommendations’ list and this month’s isn’t as extensive as the previous ones and definitely not as extensive as I would’ve wanted it to be. This month’s theme is Books with Anxiety representation because October 10th was Mental Health Awarness and even though I’m a few days late that’s what sparked this post. And while researching for it, aside from the fact that anxiety rep is severely lacking as a whole (which I expected but still surprised me) I came to two realizations:

  1. Anxious POC are almost inexistant in books.
  2. Anxiety in SFF doesn’t exist either.

I will try to include content warnings for as many of them. The ones that I couldn’t find content warnings for will have a (*) in front of their titles. Continue reading

#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Seeking a Home – A Call for Adoption Narratives in Fiction

Lili

Salutations dear readers!

Before I get started on my topic, thank you again to the lovely Fadwa for hosting me, I wanted to talk a little about myself. Just to give you some background information that I don’t even know if I’ve shared on my own blog. Talk about exclusive. I was adopted from China when I was young, like five months young, and grew up in the United States until I eventually came to Germany to do my Masters. So that being said, I want to talk today about a hole I still find in diverse YA/all fiction: adopted main characters. Continue reading

WORD WONDERS’ TBR EXPANSION : Books with Bisexual Main Characters

Bi MCs.png

Hello guys !

Weird post title, huh? Well, today I’m here with a new feature that I clearly failed at naming but we’ll role with it. As the name “Word Wonders’ TBR Expansion” says, I’m bringing this new feature to expand your TBRs, you’ll hopefully love me for it, but your wallets and bank accounts might hate me afterwards. Once a month, I will be recommending diverse books that fall under the same theme or type of representation, and since I know that if I rely on the books I’ve read only the list wouldn’t be that long so I decided I’ll ask Twitter friends for help and they delivered.

I wanted to start with books with Muslim representation (for obvious reasons) but since I already have a couple of posts where I recommend books with Muslim main characters (see here and here) I thought that if would be repetitive so I decided to skip that one for the time being. For this month, I chose books with Bisexual Main Characters and I have quite the few.

I will try to include content warnings for as many of them. The ones that I couldn’t find content warnings for will have a (*) in front of their titles.

Continue reading

Reviewing Books Outside your Lane

Reviewing outside your lane.png

Hello guys !

As more and more people pick up diverse books, more of us are reviewing them. And besides the obvious characters, plot, writing, pacing, worldbulding (when it’s SFF), there’s the added element of representation, because when we say diverse books, we say diverse characters, which means minorities are represented, and well… we want those to be good and accurate. But “reviewing” representation can be complicated, especially when the book is ownvoices (a book representing a marginalization the author is part of, which you can learn more about here, on the creator’s page) and even more when we as reviewers are not part of the minority.

What I’ve noticed (and also have been guilty of before) is that we sometimes get carried away and nitpick representation that actually is accurate and personal to the author and people who live the same circumstances, and some reviews can fall right into offensive territory because of the lack of sensitivity. This is not me saying that we shouldn’t be critical of ownvoices books, I just think that the marginalizations should be left to ownvoices reviewers to dissect, which I’ll explain the why and how of a little further down the post.

Continue reading

Why is Diversity Important ?

Diversity is important.png

Hello guys !

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about how drastically my reading habits have changed over this last year and it hit me that around this time last year is when I decided I had to make a conscious effort to read more diverse books, and I wrote a post about My Diverse Reading – Or Lack There Of (please don’t read it, it’s awful haha) and I was impressed with myself and really proud of the changes I have made to my reading and how that changed me as a person and made me see things about myself I was subconsciously ignoring.

I actually wrote that post exactly a year ago -and I swear it is purely coincidental that I’m writing this now- and had even set a little TBR for myself to start off of. I only read 3/10 from that TBR –More Happy than Not, When Michael Met Mina and Written in the Stars– all of which I adored (all 5 stars I believe). I know that might seem like a small number but since then the number of diverse books I read in a month has been increasing until I started reading them exclusively in January 2017. Now every book I read has some kind of marginalisation in it and I find that my enjoyment of the books I read has increased a lot.

In the last year, I went from being intimidated by these books (because I knew I wasn’t doing right by them) to reading them, to screaming at the top of my lungs about them and it’s been quite the journey. One I loved being on even if some of it was hard, which I didn’t expect. Anyway, enough ramblings ! All of this to say that that’s what inspired this post, my journey from reading no diverse books at all a year ago, to reading them exclusively right now. This will be a basics as well as appreciation post for Diverse Books because they are important to me and to thousands of other people.

Diversity 1

I remember I had included some kind of definition in that post from a year ago but you know, I was a noob and even though it was pretty good, it was lacking in some ways. So here’s the updated and somehow more condensed version:

Diverse books are books of which the MAIN CHARACTER (yes not side characters, spare me with that nonesense) is part of one marginalized group or more. May it be race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, physical disability, learning disability, mental illness… If the main character is part of a minority group then the book is diverse.

The definition is a bit more complicated than this when you start taking into account the author’s marginalizations (or lack thereof) but for the sake of simplicity, this is it.

Diversity 2.png

That’s how the world is

The world is such a rich place, in cultures, in religions, in genders and sexualities, in experiences that are specific to those marginalizations. And we cannot forget about intersectionalities, I’m one example of them. I am part of more than one group and those shape my life significantly and make my experiences different from those of people who are part of other groups, only share one group with me, or are part of no group at all.

Once you actually broaden your vision of the world and try to look at things beyond what’s seen as the norm, you see that there’s a lot more to the world than the able-bodied allocishet white person with no mental illnesses, the rest of us exist too, a non negligible number of us, and we deserve to be seen as well. The sad thing is, I never knew I had a choice in reading beyond that until I was shown otherwise and even that I had a lot of internalized bigotry to work through and deconstruct to actually be able to see that it is okay to feel represented by a book, that it is more than okay, it is great and I as well as many others need more of it.

Just to give you an example of how that impacted me growing up, I was a Young brown Muslim kid who wrote exclusively in the “norm” because she didn’t think she had a right to write outside of that, a right to see herself in books, a right to be happy about that. It is actually sad that I only realized all of that at 19 years old, but it’s better late than never.

Erasure is real

If we are to compare the numbers of books written by/about white people to the ones written by/about people of color (ALL POCS combined) the number for the latter is ridiculously small. Same goes for allosexual/alloromantic vs. asexual/aromantic, straight vs non-straight (gay, bi, pan…), cisgender vs. transgender, able bodied vs. disabled, and the list goes on. Every minority is crushed under the weight of what’s seen as normal and that goes beyond books as well. People from all minorities are erased, overlooked, oppressed and pressured to assimilate, and what happens when you think you’re alone in this situation (re: when you lack representation) ?

  1. You think there’s something wrong with you and keep trying to fix it (which was the case for me).
  2. You never stand up for yourself because you don’t think you have a right to/ because you’re abnormal. (Guess what? me.)
  3. You fold in on yourself and try to hide all parts of you that are different from what makes other people comfortable, and pretend those parts of you don’t exist (also me)

This is what I meant by internalized bigotry, when you keep being erased and told that there’s something wrong with you, you end up believing it, and unbelieving it is hard. Incredibly hard. And THIS is why we need more diversity, we need to not have to justify our existences, we need them to be normalized, and books play a big role in doing that.

Diverse stories/authors are as good as the rest

Better in my opinion. Hear me out. There’s just so much you can do with a trope when the main characters are pretty much the same, as I said, marginalizations and intersections play a big role in shaping one’s world so that would make any given book trope different. ANY one of them. I double dare you to prove me wrong *grins*. They just offer new perspectives, perspectives that can be unknown to a lot if not brought to light by media, and in our case, books.

There’s also the issue of creating spaces for marginalized authors because we cannot deny that publishining is dominated by non-marginalized writers and no this is not a case of “taking away from them” just making MORE space, so that marginalized authors can get their stories out there. The more stories are put out there, the more they are read and the more spaces are created because publishers realize that there IS a market for our stories (yes, hi, hello, we’re here!).

I also want to put out there that they do not have to write ownvoices stories for their stories to matter, and even their ownvoices stories can’t cater to everyone. I think that as long as they proceed with care and with extensive research (yes, even when the story is ownvoices). And that for various reasons among which is the fact that some people aren’t ready to share about themselves as well as when the author isn’t out/ doesn’t want to be outed when it comes to gender and/or sexuality so they don’t feel comfortable labelling their work as ownvoices and that’s fine too. As I said, as long as it is done with care and doesn’t butcher any marginalization, there’s not problem to it.

We deserve representation

Do you know how many books I read that represent all of me, not parts of me, not me having to pick and choose which part I want to see but ALL of me, all my intersections? NONE. Zero. Not one book. Hopefully, one is coming my way soon but even one is not enough. ONE. OOOONE. I shouldn’t have to choose what part of me I want to read about because when I do that, the representation isn’t as close to me as it could be. As an example, a queer muslim’s experiences will not be the same as an allocishet muslim’s or as a queer non-muslim’s, they’re entertwined. So what we need more of are:

  • Characters of all skin colors
  • Native characters, indigenous characters, latinx, asians (East, South East, West…), africans, middle easterns… as well as multiracial characters.
  • Trans characters, bi characters, pan characters, aro/ace characters, non-binary characters, etc…
  • Muslim characters, jewish characters, hindu characters, etc…
  • Characters with mental and physical disabilities
  • Fat characters

But most of all, intersectionality. Characters with multiple marginalizations are close to my heart because more often than not, that’s how we are, multiple pieces of our identities come together to make us who we are.

So pals, this is why diversity is important. This is why I’ll forever be grateful to this community for helping me discover I would’ve never picked up otherwise, books that today, mean the world to me.


That’s it until next time.

Share your story, why do diverse books matter to YOU? What books you feel represent you?

What are your favorite diverse books?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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