Years ago, I’d pick whatever book without the slight inclination of thinking about diversity. Now though, I question if it exists in books, if it’s appropriate, or if it’s harmful, which can occur. But I never thought that own voices and diverse books can be so intimidating for a reader like myself. But here I am questioning this topic.
So I thought I’d bring it up in my next discussion post. Over several years, diverse books have been gaining more acceptance. In 2015, an African-American girl launched the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign, which gained widespread awareness. And We Need Diverse Books is always advocating for more books for minorities, like POC, characters with disabilities, and more. With my mental illnesses, I want to advocate for them.
And yes, I do have mental disabilities, so why am I intimidated by books that can spread more awareness for not only my minority or others’ as well? Frankly, I’m still learning about them, understanding them, and championing them. I’m a reader who needs to learn a lot more than what I see in life. And a part of me is afraid. So let me explain the reasons why I am:
As a Reader, I’m Still Learning
I’m fully aware I’m learning still, so many religions, cultures, and stories are foreign to me. But I want to learn them, I want to understand them, and I want to fight for them. So I take the risk as a reader when I pick up a book I have no clue how I’ll react to because of a different culture. But I’m okay with that. I want to learn.
Social Media Platforms Aren’t Always Kind to Readers
Social media sites, particularly Instagram and Twitter, aren’t the most accepting platforms to readers who are intimidated by diverse books. I’m intimidated. And sometimes, I do not say what I wish to say about a certain book or an author. And I feel my voice doesn’t matter, nor will it when it comes to diverse books. But I don’t want my voice to overshadow a minority reader who doesn’t speak up.
Sometimes, I Don’t Know What to Read or What Not to Read
Sure, saying, “Read whatever you want” is great to say, but that statement doesn’t help a reader like me and many others. So I listen to other bloggers and readers who are well versed in diverse novels, especially people of minorities. I appreciate recommendation posts and bloggers who typically feature books.
I Don’t Pick Up on Nuisances or Issues as Other Readers
I don’t. And you don’t pick up on mine because my life is vastly different from yours, yes? So that’s how it goes for reading the same book. I may not pick up on light racism because I don’t face it much. But I’ll see mental illness issues though. I’ll see disability issues though. So yes, I do see some of these problems. But I don’t see them all, but I hope to soon.
In All Honesty, I May Not Enjoy a Diverse Book
But that’s okay though. The same as any other book. I may not connect with the main character or storyline. I may not like the writing or pacing. But please understand that even though I didn’t enjoy it doesn’t lessen the importance of that title. The book deserves all the support other readers give it.