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Diversiverse 2015: I’m doing it, and you should too!

I just signed up to participate in Aarti’s 2015 Diversiverse Challenge for the second year. Basically, the idea behind Diversiverse is for bloggers and other readers to increase the visibility of authors of color in all genres, by reading one book written by a person of color, and posting a review of it between October 4th and 17th. Your review can be on your blog, if applicable, or through a system like Goodreads or even Amazon, as long as you’re able to link it back to Aarti’s site.

I had a great time with this event last year. I read two books: Ash, by Malinda Lo, and Sister Mine, by Nalo Hopkinson. And since doing it, I’ve found myself eyeing the bookshelves when I walk into a store looking for books by authors I might not have heard of to add to my list. Aarti’s challenge led me to think more about picking diverse books off the shelf, which prompted me to check out Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings, and Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes, and Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death (all books I’m glad I read). For this year’s challenge, I think I’m going to try to read and review 3 or 4 books, and to choose authors whose work I’m not familiar with in hopes of finding more people to add to my “must read” list.

I hope you’ll join me! If you’re interested, go to the Diversiverse link above to sign up.

A Plug for BookLust’s Diversiverse Challenge

What’s the last book you read by an author of color?

If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed the new design on the blog this week, and specifically the new button that’s appeared in the upper left-hand corner with the tagline “A More Diverse Universe.” It’s the logo for Diversiverse, an awesome reading challenge that’s being organized by Aarti at Booklust for the last two weeks of September. If you want to participate, there are two steps you need to take:

  1. In the next few weeks, read a book by an author of color
  2. Between September 14-27th, post a review of that book in some public location online (you don’t need to have a blog to do this; Goodreads counts, and so does Amazon)

I’ve spent the last 2 months talking on this blog about how important representation is in genre fiction. Unsurprisingly, one of the more reliable ways (though certainly not the only one) to increase the visibility of characters from any underrepresented group is to encourage and support authors who are members of that group. There are a million reasons why this challenge is a worthwhile one, and I would strongly recommend folk consider taking this opportunity to expand your reading horizons. If you’d like to officially enroll, you can sign yourself up on Aarti’s page (the Diversiverse link above)

As Aarti points out, this challenge isn’t really so difficult to fulfill. In her words:

You may have to change your book-finding habits to include POC authors in your reading rotation.  You absolutely do not need to change your book-reading habits. 

In that spirit, I’ve included a short list here of some genre authors you might check out as a starting point. Stars indicate those whose books I’ve read, the others are authors I’m familiar with but haven’t read yet (as you’ll no doubt note, neither list is nearly as long as I’d like it to be! Please feel free to add other rec’s in the comments!)

  • Saladin Ahmed* (fantasy)
  • Octavia Butler* (science fiction)
  • Samuel R. Delany (science fiction)
  • Junot Diaz (magical realism)
  • Nalo Hopkinson* (fantasy)
  • NK Jemisin* (fantasy)
  • Malinda Lo (fantasy)
  • Marie Lu* (YA dystopia)
  • Nnedi Okorafor (fantasy)
  • Salman Rushdie (fantasy)
  • Charles Saunders (fantasy)
  • Charles Yu (science fiction)