Thursday, May 29, 2014

Armchair BEA: Beyond the Borders

I'm the first one to admit that I should make an effort to read more diversely. It's important and I know there are many many wonderful authors waiting out there for me to discover. For me reading diversely fundamentally means reading from many different perspectives. From different cultures, races, points of view. In some ways this was easier for me growing up because I come from a country that although English speaking 'Western,' is still for the most part outside of the Western literary canon. I've read books by New Zealand authors all my life, including many by Maori authors, or of Maori descent. I've actually found it harder to read diversely living here in the UK than I ever have before!

So what do I do to read diversely? I make sure I include books that:
  • Highlight different cultural perspectives
  • Are books in translation
  • Are by authors who aren't 'white men' (I use 'white men' in quotation marks because really the group I mean isn't solely made up of white men, and some white men write books that truly highlight diversity)
  • Feature characters that aren't 'white men' 
  • Highlight different ways of looking at the world
  • Are non-fiction as well as fiction. I find the more I learn about the world and how it operates, the more importance I place on diversity. There's some truly wonderful easy-read non-fiction out there that provides valuable lessons about why acknowledging our diversity and making right past wrongs is so important. 

Some favourites:



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