Back in January, I signed up for the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge as part of my re-commitment to reading. Since we’re at the halfway point of the year, I went to go check in on my progress and was like, damn, I’m three books behind! That’s okay, I still have lots of vacation time to catch up.
Since a majority of my reading has been dictated by bestseller lists and canonically white literature, I thought this was an excellent opportunity to research some POC authors! And so here’s my post for The Diverse Books Tag!
- Credit the original creator (Read Diverse Books) and the person who tagged you.
- The Diverse Books Tag is a bit like a scavenger hunt. I will task you to find a book that fits a specific criteria and you will have to show us a book you have read or want to read.
- If you can’t think of a book that fits the specific category, then I encourage you to go look for one. A quick Google search will provide you with many books that will fit the bill. (Also, Goodreads lists are your friends.) Find one you are genuinely interested in reading and move on to the next category.
Everyone can do this tag, even people who don’t own or haven’t read any books that fit the descriptions below. So there’s no excuse! The purpose of the tag is to promote the kinds of books that may not get a lot of attention in the book blogging community.
Find a book starring a lesbian character.
I’ve been reading a lot of amazing things about Gabby Rivera, and I’ve started following her on Twitter, so I’m eager to get into Juliet Takes a Breath. I haven’t read almost anything at all from LGBTQ authors, so this is an area that I want to make a bigger effort to explore.
Find a book with a Muslim protagonist.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I couldn’t think of a single book I’d read recently which featured a Muslim protagonist. After some Googling, I found a grip of amazing books, in genres across the board, but ultimately I landed on Islamicates Volume I, an anthology of science fiction short stories inspired by Muslim culture. Science fiction has been very white washed, but there are POC that are thriving in the genre, and those are the types of authors I’m interested in reading. Here’s a great bonus article about the intersection of Islam and SciFi.
Find a book set in Latin America.
I read Like Water For Chocolate a LONG time ago (high school, maybe) so I don’t remember it really well, but I certainly remember the romance, magic, food, and the sex! It’s definitely a great entry into Latino literature for anyone looking to dip their toe in. It’s only until recently that I realized that the magical realism in one of my all-time fave bad romcoms, Simply Irresistible, is jacked directly from Laura Esquivel and this book. UGH.
Find a book about a person with a disability.
There are several disabled characters in the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series, not just Game of Thrones. If you only know about GOT from the HBO show, and you haven’t read any of the books, you might not know what I’m talking about. The show is obviously sensationalized and focused on the sex, violence, and dragons, but in the book, we get into the characters’ heads a little more. Here’s an awesome bonus read on disability on the GOT TV show.
Find a Science-Fiction or Fantasy book with a POC protagonist.
Going with my theme of POC in speculative fiction, I’ve found Latino Rising, an anthology of short stories written by, for, and about, Latinos! Super eager to get into this one.
Find a book set in (or about) any country in Africa.
I definitely had to do some digging for this one. I mean, I coulda done a cop-out and said Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, or shit similar, but I’d rather find something new. The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer sounded super interesting. It takes place in the year 2174, and it’s about three kids who leave their heavily guarded mansion to explore the dangerous world outside. I will note that, even though the protagonists of the book are black, the book is written by a white woman, and I always have mixed feelings on that sort of thing. But, I’ll reserve judgment until after I read it.
Find a book written by an Indigenous or Native author.
Definitely had to research this one. I mean, again, I coulda copped out and listed some old-ass Sherman Alexie novel that I read in college 15 years ago, but I preferred to do some digging instead. I found The Swan Book, written by Alexis Wright, which takes place in post-apocalyptic Australia where extreme climate change has lead white Australians to displace aboriginal communities. I’m very interested in exploring the relationship between limited resources and racism, and I think this book would be great on that topic.
Find a book set in South Asia (Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc.).
Life of Pi by Yann Martel has long been on my to-read list. I haven’t seen the movie, and I won’t until I read the book, so this is somewhere in the queue. If you don’t know what the story is about, just look at the book cover, basically, that’s the story.
Find a book with a biracial protagonist.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman is another one that’s already on the list. I refuse to watch the show, or read anything about it. I’ll get to it when I get to it.
Find a book starring a transgender character or about transgender issues.
I’ll put forth In One Person by John Irving, but with an asterisk. I appreciated this novel for its frank depiction of male anxiety around sex, and for portraying a positive trans character. However, it’s worth noting that Irving isn’t trans, and there are parts of the book that the trans community could take him to task on. It’s still worth reading!
This tag made me realize that I need to make a greater effort to search for diversity in the material I read. Duly noted. I tag Earnest Pettie and anyone else who needs to catch up on their summer reading!