Armchair Book Expo – Delving Into Diversity

/ posted in: Reading

 

“Book Expo sparked quite the controversy a couple years ago regarding diversity in books and authors. Where are we now?”

In May of this year I threw myself totally into an Asian author reading month called #AsianLitBingo.  I had a huge amount of books that I could read.  I ended up reading 10 books by 9 Asian authors.  I also ended up sort of accidentally reading 9 books by white authors.

Let’s make that clear.  In a month where I was actively and preferentially reading Asian authors, I read almost as many books by white authors and I didn’t realize I was doing it until I counted it up for this post.  I knew I had read a few books by white authors.  I didn’t realize how many.

This is why I report how many white authors I’ve read versus authors of other races in my month end posts every month.  Accountability.  If you don’t think about it, you don’t realize that you are cutting yourself off from a whole world of great books.

“But, I don’t want to have to think about author’s race.  I just want good stories.”

I want good stories too.  That’s why branching out from one point of view is so important.

“But I don’t know where to find those books.”

Here’s how.  It takes a bit of research to get started and then it snowballs into an out of control TBR list.

Check out reviews of diverse books.

A great place to start right now is at Read Diverse Books.  There is a linkup going on there for reviews.  There are hundreds from the last few months.

Follow people who read diversely

Did you like any of the reviews you read?  Follow those people.  See who they follow.  Check out their Goodreads/Twitter/Bookstagram.  You’ll soon find people who have the same tastes as you.

Find an event

There are always events going on that highlight diverse books.  #AsianLitBingo was in May.  Check out that hashtag and others like #weneeddiversebooks, #diversebookbloggers, and #readdiverse2017.  Follow some people and they will lead you to more. #RamadanReadathon is going on right now to highlight Muslim authors.  There are lots of Pride-related reading events and lists published in June.

Branch out when finding books

I love BookBub but it is overwhelmingly white.  Same with NetGalley.  You can find some books but the majority are from white authors.  BookRiot has some good lists.  If you are an Amazon Prime member and you get Kindle First, sometimes they have translated fiction on the list of books you can choose for free.  Try it.

Use Goodreads

When you find a book you like, check out the suggestions for similar books on Goodreads.  I fell into a major Indian chick-lit reading hole doing this once.  It was lovely.

Look at lists if you want a book set in a particular place or featuring a certain character.  My favorite resource is this one for books around the world. You need to do some research on this list because they aren’t all by authors who are from the place where the book is set but it is a start.

Ask for help

Know that you want to read historical fiction set in Asia but aren’t sure where to start?  Put a request out on Twitter for suggestions.   Tag it #diversebookbloggers and you will probably get a bunch of recommendations. 

If you are participating in Armchair Book Expo, put your request in your ISO Books post on Saturday.  That’s what it is designed for.  Let the group help you find the book you want.  I’m leading the Twitter chat on Saturday night and we’ll be brainstorming lists of books to meet people’s requests.