The Diverse Books Tag #diversebookbloggers

Naz over at Read Diverse Books has challenged everyone to read more diversely. If you have read a book that fits into the category, share it! If you haven’t, go find a book that fits into the category with the goal of reading it. Here we go:

The-DiverseBooks-Tag

Find a Book Starring a Lesbian Character:

I’ve got this one in spades. Books with lesbians come to me easily — or perhaps I seek them out? — but mostly, I look for excellent stories, and I never shy away from those stories if the protagonist is a lesbian. In fact, in some instances, the leading lady being a lesbian is what drew me in!

Checking out the following:

Find a Book with a Muslim Protagonist:

Okay, my reading is not as great in this area. There is one book that I have read probably half a dozen times and taught each semester for several years now: The Autobiography of Malcolm X with Alex Haley. This book surprises my students because Malcolm is a Muslim minister for the Nation of Islam, which is a different branch of Islam than what you would encounter in the Middle East. After Malcolm did his pilgrimage to Mecca, he disavowed the N.O.I. and went Orthodox.

Looking at Goodreads, I would like to check out Ms. Marvel, a new comic book series. I also want to read Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah, which I saw in Barnes & Noble.

Find a Book Set in Latin America:

This is another category with which I have more experience. I’ve also seen Junot Diaz twice; the dude has stood two feet away from me (he likes to wander auditoriums when he talks). And my god, does he swear a lot (I love it). The last time I saw him, he asked where the Latino/as in the audience were. Then he asked where his Africans were. Very few people raised their hands, and he said that wasn’t his fault, but the college’s (we were at the University of Notre Dame). Here is my list:

  • Ayiti by Roxane Gay (Haiti)
  • Unaccompanied Minors by Alden Jones (Costa Rica)
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Dominican Republic)
  • Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War by Deb Olin Unferth (Nicaragua)
  • Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros (Mexico)
  • Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work by Edwidge Danticat (Haiti)

I have a number of books I’ve read by Latino/a authors who live in the U.S., such as Lolita Hernandez, Salvador Plascencia, and Desiree Zamorano. I’d like to read The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara (Mexico).

Find a Book About a Person with a Disability:

This is a tough one because I feel awkward reading a book about a person with a disability written by someone without a disability. I’ve noticed that most of the books with people who have disabilities I encounter are on the mental health spectrum as opposed to a physical disability, so I’ll keep my eyes open for more books with people who have disabilities.

  • Half Life by Shelly Jackson (conjoined twins)
  • American Genius by Lynn Tillman (mental illness)
  • Bogeywoman by Jaimy Gordon (self-harm, anxiety)
  • Sweethearts by Melanie Rae Thon (deaf)
  • Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulemia by Marya Hornbacher (mental illness)
  • Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher (mental illness)
  • Annie’s Ghost by Steven Luxenberg (disabled legs and mental illness)
  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (mentally disabled)
  • Lily of the Valley: Chateau of Flowers by Margaret Rome (blind)

Find a Science Fiction or Fantasy Book with a POC Protagonist:

I don’t read a ton of sci-fi or fantasy, but when I do, it tends to have POC in it. Perhaps because I find that when an author who is a POC writes sci-fi or fantasy, he or she includes deeper messages of race and gender than a white writer may.

  • Soul Resin by Charles W. Cannon
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  • Bald New World by Peter Tieryas
  • The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez

I have Kindred by Octavia Butler on my list. She wrote so many sci-fi/fantasy novels with POC; she is ultra prolific.

Find a Book Set In or About An African Country:

Find a Book Written by an Indigenous/Native Author:

  • Ledfeather by Stephen Graham Jones (Blackfeet)
  • Demon Theory by Stephen Graham Jones
  • It Came From Del Rio by Stephen Graham Jones
  • The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones
  • After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie (grew up on Spokane reservation, but has heritage with several tribes)

Okay, so I’ve read a lot of Stephen Graham Jones. Technically, he would fit really well into sci-fi and fantasy starring a POC because he writes lots of mind-bending horror with time warps and craziness. I’ve read essays by Leslie Marmon Silko and Joy Harjo, and I would like to read Louise Erdrich soon. I’d also like to read Ojibwe authors, as I grew up on the Saginaw Chippewa reservation.

Find a Book Set in South Asia:

  • Palestine by Joe Sacco (Israel-ish, depending on your viewpoint regarding what to call this territory)
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Iran)
  • Love in a Dead Language by Lee A. Siegel (India)
  • The Question of Bruno by Aleksander Hemon (Sarajevo)
  • Currency by Zoe Zolbrod (Thailand)
  • The Girl on the Fridge by Etgar Keret (Isreal)
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (India) I incorrectly remembered which book this was! It is mostly set in the United States and focuses on Indian-American families. My mistake 🙂
  • Of Marriageable Age by Sharon Maas (India, British Guyana)
  • Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (India)
  • Dragonfish by Vu Tran (Vietnam) This book is half set in Vietnam and half in Las Vegas.

Find a Book with a Biracial Protagonist:

  • Sweethearts by Melanie Rae Thon (Crow/white)
  • The Family Nobody Wanted by Helen Doss (almost every person in the book is biracial)
  • Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evens (black/white)
  • Quicksand and Passing by Nella Larsen (black/white)

Find a Book About a Transgender Character or that is about Transgender Issues:

  • Cloud 9 by Carol Churchill
  • Woman’s World by Graham Rawle
  • Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite

I also have Janet Mock’s memoir on my to-read list, of course!

The-DiverseBooks-Tag

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28 comments

  1. Wow! That is a lot of books! It’s great that you picked multiple books for each category 😊 I’ve read only maybe two or three of these.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. I think I’d struggle to name as many books as you have, particularly for a couple of categories but can think of at least a couple for each. My most recent Latin America read was Irving’s Avenue of Mysteries and the bits set in Mexico were brilliant.
    Agree with your thoughts on books about disabilities – I feel like the only one I’ve read in the past few years about physical disability was Jojo Moyes Me Before You (which is not my usual kind of book but read because of the hype…).

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Moyes book was the first one I thought of because I saw the preview for the movie many times. I wonder if I would feel more comfortable reading non-fiction about physical disabilities from authors who are physically disabled…

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  3. I also found it hard to find books about people with physical disabilities, which is why i went with a children’s books for one of my picks. Are they more prevalent in children’s lit? (I have no idea – does anyone else know?)
    I also had a harder time finding Muslim protagonists that I knew for sure were Muslim (as part of the story). And Latin American books are harder to find up here. It was an interesting exercise, that’s for sure!
    I like that you’ve listed several for each category!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I wonder if children’s books about people with physical disabilities are more prevalent because books are often more teaching tools… I think about how some adults could use books that show people who are unlike themselves. Even Donald Trump made fun of a reporter with a disability. I struggled with the books about trans people, buy was surprised I had three after some looking! Woman’s World is SO GOOD.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think Donald Trump read any fiction when he was little. I would be interested to know – if he read a lot, what does that do for the theory that reading helps build empathy?
        I feel like I’ve seen a lot of transgender books out lately, which is good to see!
        Gone to look up Woman’s World…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. An excellent post. Makes me feel a bit mono-cultural – I write about early Australian but thought I read wider than that. Working away from home, the best I can come up with from the top of my mind is Cixin Liu, The Three Body Problem (Chinese SF), Ellen van Neerven, Heat and Light (Lesbian AND Aboriginal and highly recommended), K. Hossein, And the Mountains Echoed (Muslim and might count for S.Asian). On mine and on blogs I talk to we’ve been discussing how people with disabilities should be able to represent themselves – the best I can come up with is G. Simsion, The Rosie Project (Aspergers)

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    • This are some great examples, especially the Chinese SF book. I also had my Goodreads list to reference, while you’re driving a truck! I talked to another Australian blog friend of mine, Lectito, about diverse reads from Australia. See her comment in this thread.

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  5. I could have sworn you did this tag a few weeks ago! Am I losing my mind????

    Anyway, I love all the recommendations in the first category. You have outdone us all. Wow, what an incredible resource you have created. I will tell Bina to add your post to the Diverse Book Bloggers directory. We have a page for links with recommendations.

    You met Junot Diaz? That must have been quite an experience. I’d love to hear that man speak.

    One thing, Interpreter of Maladies barely counts! I think only one (perhaps 2?) of the stories is set in India and that’s because the family is traveling there. I’ll allow it 😉

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    • Maybe I’m thinking of a different story of hers that I read…now that I’m flipping through the book, you’re right! My mistake! I’ll take it off.

      I did a post about whether or not I’d consider myself a diverse blogger, back when you first started the conversation and hashtag. I still don’t totally consider myself a globally diverse blogger.

      Yes, I’ve met Diaz twice and he is terribly charming.

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      • Oh, right! I remember that post now and yes, I was confusing it with this one.
        You read extensively and diversely, as your list of books show. Not many people are “globally” diverse bloggers. I’m still working on claiming that title myself.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, great list. All of these categories could definitely use some beefed-up representation on my shelf.

    I went to a Junot Diaz reading about two years ago and I still think about some of the things he said there. He was funny and though-provoking, and also patient while everyone took photos with him afterwards!

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  7. Fascinating. I’ve covered quite a lot of these categories, I read a fair few books set in South Asia and by Muslim writers. I’ve had Does My Head Look Big in This? on my wishlist for ages and have never seen it mentioned anywhere else! I have trouble with South America, I think, and I have not read enough sci fi to have encountered a POC in it as far as I know – maybe one to ask my husband about, as he reads more in that area than I do. Thank you for showcasing these wonderful diverse books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading! Do you know why you’ve read so many books set in Asia or with Muslim protagonists? For instance, my reading shelf is actually really, really heavy on African American writers, but that’s because I teach a class on the subject and enjoy the different perspective of the U.S. However, that wasn’t a category in this book tag.

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      • I’ve always been interested in that part of the world, and drawn to books from there, for some reason. I certainly never studied that, I stuck to British English literature at university, and Icelandic … I also read a fair amount of American lit, and I do like books on the immigrant experience, either from western countries or to them, and about different cultures. Maybe I stared off seeking the diversity I didn’t find where I was growing up!

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  8. Ooooh love this post, so many I’ve yet to read!! I think it’s also interesting how doing the tag shows us which experiences/settings/identities we read less about, I definitely found I need to look more towards Latin America. I will check out Graham Jones, so glad you recommend his works, because he wasn’t even on my radar! Also Create Dangerously sounds just amazing, I need to read all her works.
    Btw I wanted to add these book tag posts to the resource page of the DBB directory, would it be alright to link to yours, too?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So many new titles to explore here! Wonderful that you included a mini reading list for each category. Looking at my shelves, I realise that I have a lot of novels with lesbian protagonists (huge Jeanette Winterson & Sarah Waters fan) and also a bit of Latin American and South Asian lit. and novels about people with disabilities (lots of YA titles in here. I also remember reading Oliver Sacks’ Awakenings around the same time as I read Flowers For Algernon in high school and just feeling absolutely gutted). For the fantasy/sci-fi category, have you read any Helen Oyeyemi? I read White is for Witching and Boy, Snow, Bird early last year. Mind blown. A few of the other categories I’d struggle with, though, so I’ll have to look up some of your suggestions!

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