In case you don’t know what #Diverseathon is – here is my original post with all the relevant info and the people on Twitter who ran it. It was from September 12-19th, and the point was to read diverse books. I loved that there were no challenges, limits, or requirements as far as number of books or what kind of diversity – what you read was up to you.
I set a TBR of 5 books and got through 4. I am super stoked, as I have not been reading as much this year as previous. Some months I don’t even read 4 books, so to do it in a week is pretty awesome. I also reviewed them all on the blog. I will post links below. Here is what I read and how I rated them.
Beloved by Toni Morrison – 4 stars
The Color Purple by Alice Walker – 4.5 stars
I had read The Color Purple and Other Voices, Other Rooms in high school, but I really wanted to read them again, as I knew nothing about LGBTQ issues back then and was very confused when I read them (this was more than 20 years ago, by the way, I was a freshman or sophomore.) It made for an intense, focused week of reading, as I really concentrated on reading and made it my priority.
I wonder at my choices. I chose books I at least had an impression of – and 3 of the 4 are classics. Sometimes, books themselves, rather than characters, can experience tokenism. These are the books that society says “Here is some diverse literature! Read it and feel good about yourself!” All of three of these authors are amazing examples, but their books, on these subjects, are taught again and again, are pointed out again and again. I almost wish I had gone outside of the “canon” of novels about black and LGBTQ experience. But… I also believe in having a good foundation in your reading. So I started here, I’m going to try and branch out and read more widely. I don’t want to JUST read Alice Walker and Toni Morrison (though I want to read more of both of these women’s works). There are also more diverse topics out there I want to explore. I’ve never read a book about a trans character – other than Other Voices, which who knows – that may be a metaphor. So I’m looking into those books as well. I don’t have as good a record with reading about differently abled people. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Lady Midnighte are the only books I can think of that I’ve read that have autistic characters. So my foundation could use some more concrete.
I’ve decided to read at least one diverse book, focusing on “own voice” per month, minimum. I read a lot of fantasy and sci fi – and sometimes, it can be hard to find diverse voices. Of course, there is all kinds of literature out there, and I don’t ONLY read sci fi and fantasy. Thank God things are changing – we’ve got Renee Adhieh, Nnedi Okorafor, Marie Lu, David Levithan, Sara Saedi ( I am dying to read Never Ever) and a host of new and established authors to switch up settings and challenge us… and of course… entertain. There are also a lot of others out there that might not have made the best seller lists.
Diverse books aren’t only for a readathon. I’m going to try and do a lot better reading them from here on out.