As I was on surfing through Goodreads, I came across a bookshelf that was labeled “Diverse books.”I actually began to wonder, what is considered to be a diverse book and is it different depending on the person?
Knowing a diverse book is somewhat obvious. LGBT, person of color, ethnicity, and disability. However, for the most part, that’s our extended knowledge of classifying diverse book. But that’s not necessary a bad thing because well, despite the recent trend of increasing published diverse books, there’s still never enough of these types of books.
But, is being a diverse reader based on the book’s actual self, or is it depending on the person?
I was talking to my friend about the topic and she made a good point on one thing. See, she’s African American and also a reader. She solely reads books containing African Americans and usually doesn’t take the time to branch out of those books. She was telling me if she read an author who was Caucasian, would that be considered her reading a diverse book?
It’s really weird but I can’t help but think about that. I mean, she’s reading a book out of her comfort zone, and she’s reading a book that the characters are not her race. But is that really being more diverse?
Also, she mention to me that if I read a book about African American characters, would I still be a diverse reader, even though it’s not much different to me and that I can easily identify with them.
The definition of “diverse”: Showing a great deal of variety; very different.
She’s reading a book that’s very different TO HER. But in the book world, we define diverse books containing people of color.
We also need to think of the author themselves. I will admit, a lot of the authors I read are Caucasian woman; my favorite of all time falls into the category. Now I’m not saying reading a Caucasian male book is becoming more diverse. I’m half African American and half Caucasian, and it bothers me how I NEVER read a book by an African American author. I heard of some black authors, I shelf a lot of their books on my Goodreads, but I never actually took out of my time into reading their books.
I’ve even read a good chunk amount Asian authors (Justina Chen, Jenny Han, Stephanie Tromly) and Native Americans (Sheman Alexie) but absolutely none of my race.
That really saddens me.
BUT is not reading books by African Americans making me MORE of a diverse reader because I’m black? Or does that only apply if the characters IN the book is black since I can easily identify with them, and they wouldn’t be quite as different. I mean the writing doesn’t necessary change based on the author’s race.
This what my friend was talking about. BUT I think might still be considered as a diverse reader if I read about African American characters.
The first reason is that, when I read a book and the character’s skin color isn’t revealed yet, I identify them being Caucasian. I wish I didn’t do this but it’s an instinct. I’ve unfortunately conform to picturing the typical book character, and my goal is to diminish that image. Although I am half African American, I’m still “identifying” with the Caucasian because that’s what I assume the main character to be.
The second reason is that African Americans are still a minority. There’s only about 13 percent of African Americans in the US…were not even the top minority (Hispanics taking that lead). Reading any books about the minority, no matter what race are you, should be considered as a diverse book.
Despite these reasons, what about other people from other countries? Would them reading a Caucasian book be considered as a diverse book? Asians is the top race of the world, but if a person from Japan reads a book containing Caucasian characters, are they diverse reader?
In the beginning of all this, I was a little bit confused. And now, I’m even more confused.
What do you guys think about the topic of diverse books? Based on book or based on reader or both?