Diverse Books Tag

The marvelous Sharlene at Olduvai Reads tagged me for the Diverse Books Tag.

The Diverse Books Tag is a bit like a scavenger hunt. I will task you to find a book that fits a specific criteria and you will have to show us a book you have read or want to read.

If you can’t think of a book that fits the specific category, then I encourage you to go look for oneA quick Google search will provide you with many books that will fit the bill. (Also, Goodreads lists are your friends.) Find one you are genuinely interested in reading and move on to the next category.

Everyone can do this tag, even people who don’t own or haven’t read any books that fit the descriptions below. So there’s no excuse! The purpose of the tag is to promote the kinds of books that may not get a lot of attention in the book blogging community.

Find a book starring a lesbian character.

I choose my favorite of Helen Oyeyemi’s books, White is for Witching. It’s about a pair of twins who live in a haunted and xenophobic house. The girl twin, Miranda, goes off to Cambridge and gets involved with a black girl. The house is not happy about it.

Find a book with a Muslim protagonist.

Ausma Zehanat Khan’s The Unquiet Dead features a Canadian Muslim detective trying to solve a mystery relating to a possible Bosnian war criminal. This was obviously right up my alley, as I read very widely about genocides in history and their aftermaths. I enjoyed the mystery a lot and was excited to find that it’s the first in a series about this detective, Esa Khattak, and his right-hand woman, Rachel Getty.

Find a book set in Latin America.

A Latin America-set book on my TBR list that I can’t wait to read when it comes out next month is Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Here Comes the Sun, which is about three Jamaican women who fight against the installation of a new hotel in their community. It got a ton of buzz at BEA, and my pal Shaina raved about it, so I’m in!

Find a book about a person with a disability.

Do mental disorders count? If yes I am choosing Nathan Filer’s wonderful The Shock of the Fall, which made me cry many times like a tiny, tiny child. The depiction of what it’s like to live with schizophrenia is so beautifully done, without ever being patronizing or overly sentimental. I am tearing up now thinking of one moment in particular. Sniffle, sniffle.

Find a science fiction or fantasy book with a POC protagonist.

Don’t mind if I doooooo. A recent read that I enjoyed a lot, but didn’t get around to reviewing, was Nnedi Okorafor’s book Lagoon, in which a race of aliens makes their first contact in Lagos, Nigeria. All of the various protagonists trying to make sense of this bewildering new state of affairs are black Nigerians, and it’s a weird and spooky and excellent piece of scifi.

Find a book set in (or about) any country in Africa.

Jenny cracks her knuckles and does some jumping jacks in preparation, then remembers she should be reasonable about this and not get all crazy with it. Suffice it to say, I love reading books set in or about countries in Africa, and it is hard for me to pick just one.

I’m going to choose a book from a smaller press, Imran Coovadia’s Tales of the Metric System. This book (which I’m still waiting for my library to order for me!) is a novel about the changes in South African society over the last forty years. I have been given to understand that it deals with South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which I am extra interested in.

Find a book written by an Aboriginal or American Indian author.

Your recs for this category would be appreciated, as I didn’t have a ton of choices lined up. I’m choosing Ambelin Kwaymullina’s very enjoyable The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, a YA dystopian novel with (I’m delighted to report) a sequel to be published in America this year.

Find a book set in South Asia (Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc.)

I really like Ru Freeman’s book On Sal Mal Lane, which I read a few years back. Set on a road in Sri Lanka at the outset of the Sri Lankan Civil War, it depicts a group of families (some Tamil, some Sinhalese, and some Burgher) dealing with the changing political and racial dynamics of their country. It reminded me of one of my all-time favorite authors, Rumer Godden, and was just altogether great.

Find a book with a biracial protagonist.

Everyone was crazy about Fran Ross’s Oreo last year, when the 1974 satirical novel was reprinted. It’s a comic novel about a mixed-race woman in Philadelphia and New York, and although it has been described as picaresque and that is not really my jam,1, I am excited for Oreo to become the exception to my picaresque hate.

Find a book starring a transgender character or about transgender issues.

For this one, I’m choosing Meredith Russo’s If I Was Your Girl. Protagonist Amanda has just started at a new school and is falling in love with a boy named Grant; she badly wants to come out to him as trans, but fears how he will take it. I hear amazing things about this book and this author and can’t wait to try it!

  1. although I love the word! Picaresque! I wish it meant something awesomer.
  • Some other good books with protagonist with disability:

    I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios (PTSD) (YA)
    Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover (deafness) (YA)
    Stargazing by Linda Gillard (blindness)
    Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard (mental illness)

  • Oh, I would have to do a deep dive into my personal library to see what I could find that fits these categories! (I also highly recommend If I Was Your GIrl. It made me want to hug every trans I can find and tell them that not everyone is horrible.)

  • I just posted about this book tag today, too.
    I’ve just added a few more to my list. The Shock of the Fall and If I Was Your Girl sound especially good!

  • Ooh, I think I’m going to do this one! I noticed going through it that
    Corinne Duyvis’s two books cover a remarkable number of categories–the
    one I’m reading now has an biracial main character who is also autistic,
    and her sister, who is trans.

  • Ooh The Shock of the Fall sounds like EXACTLY my thing. I’m requesting it from the library right now. I also really want to read If I Was Your Girl.

  • Kailana

    My favourite Aboriginal author is Thomas King. Green Grass, Running Water for the win! I have read some of his other books and have others on my TBR…

  • This is a good list! I want to try Nnedi Okorafor, but I haven’t been able to figure out where to start.

  • LOVE this tag!! I will have to think of this for awhile.

    I do need to read something by Oyeyemi. Lagoon sounds wonderful so I need to look for that.

  • I kept noticing Lagoon on Goodreads (three people I know shelved it as to-read) but hadn’t thought of it in a while … but then today I read this post, and then after work I went to the library and there it was sitting on the new-books shelf, despite not actually being super-new, and clearly I had to check it out. I’m looking forward to it!

  • Alley

    Super yes to this tag and I maaaaaaaaaay need to try to do this as well.

  • Yaaaay you did the tag, I was hoping you would! 🙂 This is really doing things to my tbr! Wasn’t Lagoon excellent? The only flipside was that I read Binti first and since I loved that so much Lagoon is my second favorite of hers. But I am pushing this on everyone and telling them to stick with the wridness cause that’s the best thing about it. Also, The Unquiet Dead was on Scribd and now it isn’t 🙁 I had it in my library and everything, I feel betrayed. And Ashala I think I’ll have to splurge on cause stupid library, but if you recommend it I’m sure it’s worth it. Adding the others to the tbr, too!

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  • Sarah Says Read

    I’m gonna steal this from ya, if you don’t mind 🙂 Meant to do it ages ago but I never got around to it so now feels like a good time.