If you only read the books that everyone else is reading,
you can only think what everyone else is thinking.
~ H.aruki Murakami ~
Diverse Books~Diverse Authors~ Diverse Genres~Diverse Topics
Why is reading diverse books and authors important?
The simple answer is that it helps us learn about other people, other cultures, other life experiences and our world. It educates us and we become more compassionate people.
We need to not only learn about others but we need to learn about ourselves. It is simple for me, a white, straight, Canadian female, to read books that have characters who look like me, sound like me and have similar experiences. This is one of the privileges I benefit from. It's important to recognize ourselves in literature. As a white, straight, Canadian female, I still get excited when I read a book and my hometown is mentioned or it's set in a place I have traveled to. Now, the question is, does the young, Sudanese mother of four, in that same rural hometown have the same type of literature and resources for herself and her children? Will they recognize themselves? It's much less likely. By reading and promoting diverse reading we can send a message to publishers that there is a need for those and other diverse stories.
When I first started recognizing the need to read more diverse books, I was very conscientious about it. Now, it almost comes second nature, but I still check myself once in a while.
Don't know where to get started, no problem. I am going to share some tips on some fun ways to read outside your comfort zone and read diverse books and authors.
What the heck are prompts?
For book lovers and readers, a prompt is a way of choosing a certain type of book to read. For example, if the prompt is "A book with a month in the title", you could choose February by Lisa Moore and it would fulfill that prompt. A more diverse prompt might be something like, "Read a book by an author from another continent".
For more prompt ideas, click the book.
This sounds hard! It isn't!
Don't let the word challenge fool you. The idea of reading challenges is to help readers either read more or read books they might not normally read or both. There are so many different challenges out there and some readers can get addicted to them. I am in three this year and I love them.
There are different types: some readers challenge themselves to read a certain number of books a month or a year. Some readers want to read an entire series over the year. Some choose to read all the works of one author.
To challenge yourself to read diversely, you can come up with your own, using prompts or follow challenges online. Here are some of my favourites:
Book Clubs and Buddy Reads
No thanks,I'm an introvert! Don't worry.
Book clubs are a great way of meeting new people, reading books you wouldn't normally pick up, and learning from others. The diverse part exists if different people are choosing the books. If it's always the same person, you might get a lot of the same thing. Your book club could also choose to do a challenge together similar to The Fold Reading Challenge above. Whoever is choosing a book for June, would choose a book that fits that prompt.
Social gatherings aren't your thing, even if it is talking about books.... that's ok.
Perhaps an online book club suits you better. You can discuss at your own time, in your pajamas if you want. There are so many to choose from and if you don't find what you are looking for, you can start your own.
Another great option is Buddy Reads. Reading a book with one or two other people and talking about it when it's convenient for everyone. These are great because sometimes we just want to share the experience of a book with someone else or sometimes it motivates us to read something new. You can do this with friends, a spouse, your kids. It's a great way to have conversations about things you might not talk about otherwise.