Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.
Today I give you ten books that celebrate diversity or diverse characters. This was actually a bit difficult for me. I read a ton of books with LGBT characters so I had to really narrow it down, and then think a bit to pull in some other types of diversity. In a few cases, I looked pretty far back at my reading list in order to pick something that I think deserves to be in (or back in) the spotlight.
I should also note that the idea of a character who is "diverse" doesn't actually make sense, since diversity basically means "variety" and one thing alone cannot make up a variety. My angle here is to highlight characters who are part of a minority group or have defining characteristics which are underrepresented in books.
1. Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon: this book celebrates diversity more than anything I've read and also I think everyone should read it because then the world would be a better place. The end.
2. She's Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan: one of my favorite memoirs, this was the first thing I read that made me sort of get what the transgender experience is all about. I posted about it in 2007 as part of my list of Memoirs I Didn't Hate, which is still a list worth checking out. I didn't describe it very well ("became a woman" isn't quite accurate) but that's my fault, not the book's.
3. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: this may seem like an odd choice at first, since it's about a group of beauty pageant contestants. But the characters are all trying very hard to conform when, in fact, they are a rather diverse group in many ways. It's satirical and hilarious.
4. Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern: one of the main characters has cerebral palsy and the other has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and their friendship is beautiful to behold. I like that the book is about much more than the ways in which they are different from other teenagers.
5. A World Away by Nancy Grossman: I don't read a lot of books that focus on the main character's religion, but I couldn't pass up this one about a teenage Amish girl. It was refreshingly different and I loved it.
6. Annabel by Kathleen Winter: this haunting novel has an intersex character who is from Labrador, Canada. Both the character and setting were unusual, and it was beautifully written.
7. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed: young adult novel centering around a Pakistani-American family and arranged marriage.
8. Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher: still one of my favorite young adult novels, it's about a high school boy in Missouri who falls for a trans girl.
9. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters: Victorian-era lesbians star in one of my very favorite novels.
10. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: a Nigerian woman is the star of this brilliant novel about race in America. One of the best books I've read in the past few years.
What are your favorite books that celebrate diversity or contain characters of an underrepresented group?