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.
4 thoughts on “Beyond the Blurb | Reading Diverse Books Is More Intimidating than I Thought They’d Be”
I admire your honesty so much. This was a great post!
Your points about picking up on small issues that you haven’t faced as much in your life resounded with me. As a white reviewer, I try to constantly be mindful of the issues that different books have, but sometimes it’s hard to identify smaller scale things simply because I had no idea to even look for it. Usually I try to combat this issue by finding own voices reviewers of the book and seeing what they said to understand how people feel about the books. However, this year I’ve stepped out and read a lot more diverse and own voices books and I feel like I’ve learned so much about the world around me through them.
[…] Beyond the Blurb | Reading Diverse Books Is More Intimidating than I Thought They’d Be By Siobhan @ Siobhansnovelties […]
I’m so glad you wrote this. I’m intimidated and sometimes don’t make comments and second-guess myself when it comes to diverse books. But this second-guessing seems to grow me awareness about issues and makes me a more compassionate person.
I just think that when I’m questioning, I want to already know the answer. But that’s not life, because I don’t know others’ struggles and none of us have the same reading experience.
As long as we have patience and can help each other see those nuances instead of yelling at each other for our ignorance I think that we will continue to grow and support each other in the book community and the world as a whole.