I’m playing catch-up today with a long overdue post. I joined DiverseAThon in January – a great prompt for me to read more books by diverse voices. I do read widely, including many books in translation, but when I looked at my shelves I realised these are mostly European (and mostly men). Here’s to broadening my reading horizons.
So, what diverse reads did I have on my shelves at home?
Still pretty mainstream, but a good start. I’m going to aim for more diverse reads this year and keep reading in translation (books in translation perhaps a blog post in itself).
Some quick reviews:
Shelter by Jung Yun: A pity I can’t show you this one because the cover was beautiful! (different to the one in the link). This was a drama centering on a Korean-American family. It was challenging as I did not warm to the characters, but real and compelling: I wanted to know what would happen next. I must say, I didn’t enjoy it, but it has stayed with me as an honest, strong, well-written book.
The Sellout by Paul Beatty: I absolutely loved this. Strong, fizzing, inventive prose and on-point commentary about racism and Amercia. Beatty skewers, subverts and glorifies in race issues and America’s uncomfortable past and present. I laughed out loud, stopped to think and otherwise just enjoyed the ride. Highly recommended.
The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla. An excellent collection of essays – fresh writing, highly readable. An important book if for no other reason than to open our minds, remind us what a diverse world we live in but bring home that things like humour, wanting to connect and the magic of a good haircut are universal. But mostly just a great read! Darren Chetty writes a wonderful essay on teaching children to write using characters from their own background – the resulting stories are stronger with more emotional engagement. Varaidzo, Miss L (on being cast as ‘the wife of a terrorist’) and Salena Godden were also highlights. A shout-out to the London Book Club for this winning Secret Santa gift!
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue: this is where my DiverseAThon went off the rails … I was 40 pages in and really enjoying this – it’s warm, engaging and transports you to New York with some lively characters. Then I saw that Litsy was doing an Infinite Jest buddy read (excellently hosted by Jen P of the Reader’s Room) – this has long been on my TBR, so I jumped at the chance to read it in the company of friends. Starting a week late, I dived in and … wheee yo mamma! That’s for another post…
I’m also doing Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge – who wants to join me? Another fun excuse to read out of my comfort zone and find new authors to fall in love with. Although at the rate I’m going, I’ll have to make Infinite Jest fit into all of the categories. 😉
And yes, I know, I have not updated on my holiday reading from December/January. Yikes! While I think about how many blog posts I need to catch up on and all the books I’ve read over summer, and all the books still to read, here is a photo of Carrickalinga Beach.
What have you been reading? Do you have any diverse or Read Harder recommendations?