#YouGotDiverseBooks : Be Intentional

I recently came across a post by author James Dawson that talked about how part of the issue of making sure that the book industry continues to support diverse titles and takes on more diverse titles, readers should show more support for already existant diverse titles. I entirely agree. In the past year or so I’ve tried to make it a personal goal of mine to only read books that offer ‘prominent minority characters’, as Dawson calls them, and furthermore have been making a concerted effort to support prominent minority authors as well. The more I follow the conversation surrounding #WeNeedDiverseBooks the more I am convinced that #WeNeedDiverseAuthors as well, and part of that is the readers’ responsibily to seek out and support female authors, authors of colors, LGBTQIA+ authors, openly neuroatypical authors, etc. In doing so I’m not only supporting the industry as a whole becoming more inclusive, and telling the industry that I, as a reader, support stories of all kinds (and not just ones that speak to my experience as a white woman), I’m also freed from the very limiting experience that is the tendancy of the mainstream franchices to all speak to only priviledged experiences. The more I read diverse titles, and the perspectives and stories of diverse authors, the more I learn; the less I get bored and burned out on reading. As an author, it also helps me to break out of my own tendancies to write stock white-and-Eurocentric stories, and to help me learn when my own writing has been less than inclusive.

But I need to be intentional about it. I need to seek out not just books with interesting titles or premises, but books with diverse characters and authors. They won’t just fall in my lap. I have to look for them, to be as intentional in my reading as I am in my writing.

So, to give a little more of a concrete help, here’s a list of diverse titles (and diverse authors) that I read and enjoyed in the past year or so. These titles include female protagonists, LGBTQIA+ characters, disabled main characters, non-Eurocentric historical plot lines, or were written by authors who are traditionally underrespresented in the industry. (Please note that this is based on my opinion of said books, and also that my experience of ‘diversity’ is informed by being American. Feel free to let me know if any of my suggestions are overwhelmingly problematic):

The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Graceling by Kristen Cashore

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

War Dances by Sherman Alexie

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Miracle at St. Anna by James McBride

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

The Lunar Chronicles (series) by Marissa Meyer

Song Yet Sung by James McBride

Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Empress by Shen Sa

Dress Your Family In Cordoury and Denim by David Sedaris

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Trickster’s Choice/Trickster’s Queen by Tamora Pierce

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Ceremony by Leslie Silko

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

For more recommendations, or to send me a recommendation, feel free to contact me any time on my Goodreads account. I’m alway looking for a good new book to read, and I would always pick supporting diverse inclusivity in the industry over just another book. How will you make your reading list more inclusive this year, reader?

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