Happy Sunday! Instead of telling you what I’m up to, I decided to do something different. A Diverse Universe event is coming up and I thought I’ll write a list post for anyone who’s thinking about joining the event and don’t know what to read.
Bloggers like Aarti and Nymeth have eloquently written about why more people should read diversely. I’m not going to do it. I’ve realized that exploring works of art based on an author’s race means being open to something different. And either you are open to that or you’re not. Readers love the adventures that books can take them on, like new worlds light-years away or a dystopian version of the world they live in. Looking at race can be a different and harder thing to do. But it doesn’t have to be.
It’s an ongoing process, one that means making a decision book by book. It doesn’t mean suddenly changing the way you read overall. I, myself, have been guilty of not reading many books by people of color over the years. Or, I’ll read them but don’t review them. This year has been fantastic with books by people of color dominating my reviews, but I still have work to do.
Some critics have stated that by purposely choosing to read a book written by a person of color, you’re excluding whites. Well, that’s true. When you’re in the mood to read science fiction or fantasy that means excluding all writers who don’t write in that genre. Race isn’t any different. Nor is it any different when choosing to read books that won certain awards or set in different countries or translated from other languages. I hope everyone who reads this post makes a decision to pick up a book by a person of color. Like I stated earlier, that choice is up to you.
The books on my list were all published this year. I decided to give newly released books more bookish love than those that were published in previous years. By buying, borrowing, or reviewing new releases shows the gatekeepers that books by people of color are desired by readers.
Note: Most of the links to the titles below will take you to Goodreads. Several will take you to my reviews or the reviews of other bloggers.
Looking for a short read?
- This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki – graphic novel
- Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi -graphic novel
I don’t read short stories often enough though I love them. The great thing about them is that you can often find amazing ones online via Tor and other online publications.
- “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu (pdf). Winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards when it was first published in 2011 (cough).
- “A Cup of Salt Tears” by Isabel Yap.
- Pioneer Girl by Bich Mich Nguyen. The Smithsonian’s BookDragon book club picked this for their March read earlier this year.
- For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu
- The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
- I’ll Be Right There by Kyung Sook Shin
- Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
- Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique
- Song of the Shank by Jeffrey Renard Allen
- The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob
- Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok
- Bad Feminist by Roxanna Gay – essays
- Take This Man by Brando Skyhorse -memoir
- March Vol. 1 by John Robert Lewis -graphic novel
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson -poetry/memoir
Have you read any of these books? What newly released books would you recommend?