Thursday, April 19, 2018

On how to read more diversely

American society today (and some societies around the world) are pushing for more diverse literature, movies, and other media. What does that mean for us readers? To begin with, it means there will be more types of characters, love stories, plot lines, cultures, and interests featured in books we read. In many opinions, it also means that readers are obligated to read more diverse books - more demand=more supply. 
For me personally, I don’t feel the need to go to great lengths to read more diversely just yet. Many of the books I’ve found on Netgalley and won through Goodreads Giveaways are far more diverse and interesting than anything I would find on my own. Also, a large majority of the blogs I read recommend several diverse books, so I haven’t had to work much to find more diverse characters and authors to read. To me, that’s interesting - it’s easy for me to find these sort of books because they’re constantly being pushed upon me. I have very little work to do in order to find them.
If you’re struggling to find more diverse (or even broad) reading, then I have a few resources for you:

  • Book blogs - There are countless book blogs out there that recommend diverse books, that advocate diversity, and that give diversity scores to books they review. Blogs are a fantastic way to get good book recommendations anyway, but I have a few blogs that are worth investigating more.
    • Book Riot - Book Riot thrives on sharing books written by diverse authors or about diverse characters. Look at their many book lists for ideas about your next diverse read.
    • The Book Satchel - This book blog covers a lot of Indian authors and Indian books, in addition to many books by and about women of color. While the blog doesn’t focus exclusively on these types of books, Resh (the blogger) tends to like those sort of books best, it seems - she writes about them a lot. Also, she takes beautiful book pictures and has great taste in books, so her blog is worth it just for that.
    • Rich in Color - This blog is wholly dedicated to writing about and reviewing diverse books. In addition to frequent reviews, they also post lists periodically relating to various subsets of book diversity or in celebration of certain types of diversity.
    • Read Diverse Books - This blog also offers many diverse book recommendations and listicles. There are also many link-ups and challenges to encourage other book bloggers to read more diversely.
    • We Need Diverse Books - This website (which isn’t quite a blog) is dedicated to making diverse books more accessible and well-known. On one page, they have an infograph of several different diverse books you can read - all depending on your interests.
  • Reading challenges - While some book challenges simply get you to read genres you’re unfamiliar with, many reading challenges encourage more diverse reading and some challenges offer ideas of books that will fulfill each criteria. You can also further challenge yourself by taking a normal reading challenge and adding further criteria for yourself - i.e. Each book within the challenge must be written by a person of color to count.
    • Popsugar’s 2017 Reading Challenge - While this challenge has very few overt calls for diverse authors or characters, this would be an easy challenge to tweak to your specifications.
    • Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge - Book Riot does this challenge each year and it typically focuses on diversity in books. This year, many of the challenge suggestions come from authors you may be familiar with (and who may have written books that fulfill some of the criteria).
    • Unconventional Librarian - This Diversity Reading Challenge only requires you to read 12 books throughout the year, so it's simple. Also, this blog listed TONS of books for Black History Month, so if you're looking for diverse books, this is a great place to start.
    • 4th House on the Left - This Diversity Bingo Challenge has been making it’s way around the internet and is a good way to read books about diverse characters while not letting reading take over your life. They also include a list of books that could fit various categories on the Bingo board. They haven't posted a 2018 Diversity Challenge yet, but keep your eyes open.
    • Pucks and Paperbacks - This blog followed the Bingo challenge last year, but took it up a notch. Each month, they picked a different topic and focused on books from that topic. On this page, they listed books that you could read during each month to fulfill the Bingo challenge and to fit within their monthly challenges. They haven't yet posted a 2018 Diversity Challenge that I could find, but their 2017 list is a great place to start.
  • Ask someone - Is there someone you know who has wonderful taste in books? Who reads like there won’t be a tomorrow? Who is always up-to-date on the newest books? Who works in a library? Anyone who falls within one of these categories will for sure have a book or two in mind if you’re looking to read more diverse books. And often, once you find an author or two who write really diverse characters, it’s easy to branch out from there.

How do you find new diverse books? What resources do you use to get book recommendations?


  1. I’ve definitely discovered loads of great diverse books through blogging, and I love that books in general are starting to include more diverse characters, because there’s so much call for change in the book world. You’ve definitely given me a few more places to look for diverse recommendations here, so thanks! :)

    1. Blogging has broadened my bookish horizons so much! Thanks for stopping by:)

  2. Lately I've realized I've been only reading Western authors though, with an exception of some Nigerians who seem to be kind of trending right now. But coming from Lithuania myself, it's a little weird that I read only Americans or English authors, but that's what's popular. So in terms of reading mre diversely, I feel like I should read more translated books. But I haven't got around to doing that yet!

    1. I agree - and it's much more difficult to get copies of newer translated work. If you have any good resources for finding great translated work, please let me know. Book Riot mentions stuff occasionally, but I'd love more perspectives!

  3. I haven't read a lot of diverse books and honestly diversity never comes into consideration when I pick a book. I do read a lot of fantasy which kind of has its own diversity in ways. I do think it is important for people to be able to read book they relate to tho, so I definitely think that it is important to make them readily available and easy to find!

    1. Agreed! I often don't consider diversity when I pick out books, but I'm trying to do a better job of being mindful of that - especially since it's probably difficult for some groups to find books about people like them if there aren't other people reading and talking about those books. Thanks for stopping by!