Top 10 Tuesday: Books that celebrate Diversity

This is another post, inspired by the fantastic brokeandbookish.com site and their Top 10 Tuesday, without them i would post even less then i already do. 


I have to confess that i thought i had read more books that were "diverse". 

And by that i do not mean only books that handle a different sexual orientation -such as LGBTQ- but rather a more general sense of diversity, by talking about minority groups, or different religions or third world nations and their problems, socioeconomic diversity or disabled characters. 
And by disabled i don't just mean physically disabled, but also diseases and other reasons why a character can not live the typical normal life, and because of that are disabled in their live. You know books that don't have a typical white main character, in very simple terms. 

But it turns out that while i do have a more then the four books that would count as diverse in the sense that i just listed above, most of the books i own are not translated into English or any other language then German and so not widely available and because of that not on this list. 
And believe it or not, not having the german versions of the diverse books i read, the list of diverse books i did read became small. And by that i mean the four books that i have listed here. But i just wanted to say that i do read more then just those.

Because i do read a lot of diverse books, just not with diverse characters or storylines as it turns out. 

Alright, let me try to explain because that clearly wasn't clear or understandable for anyone outside my head. 

I do read a lot of books from different nations, different countries, different backgrounds and characters, but most of those books are either written by people that are white, authors that grew up in Europe or North America and just visited the areas they wrote about, or not even that just talked to people that came from a different area they wrote about. 
Or the books is just generally more about white people and christian religion then anything else, and while it touches on the topic of diversity, it does not actually talk about it directly, more around it. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I am myself a white mostly typically European raised person. I also know that it is not easy getting published, especially if you come from a difficult background. 

Still, i was bit shocked to noticed just how few book on my shelves are really actually have diverse topics and/or characters, especially main characters. And even more shocked to learn how few are actually translated into other languages, if they are not originally in english. I just thought i could have a very easy list here today. Well everyone can be wrong, right?

And because of that i decided to split this list of 10 books into two parts. 

The first four books are my favorite diverse topic english books, which as always i will talk about in depth later on so no need to do it here right now, and the other six books are books that i saw that are about or with diverse characters or stories and i plan to read. 


Oh and i am also not including the already well known diverse books and authors that most people already know. Such as "The Color Purple" or a book by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
Because most people already know those books. And i do believe that this kind of sharing should be about books that are less known and maybe point more people into a direction of books that are not already bestsellers, but rather to those books that very few people talk about but that deserve much more talk. 


So here it goes: 

The books that i own and have read and loved with diverse stories and/or characters:

1. The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles



This is a wonderful story about two girls/woman growing up in the backcountry of Brazil. 

This story really portrays the difficulties and hardships that lesser developed countries can have and how difficult it is to grow up there if you are not "normal". 

It is not only a story about two sisters that have to grow up in a very small town in the middle of nowhere Brazil with practically nothing, but that one of the sisters also has a handicap in the form of a very badly twisted and deformed arm that she had broken as a child and never had set correctly, mostly because of the lack of proper doctors in the area.

At the beginning of the book this story is just about the two sisters, how the grew up, what their life is like in the backcountry of Brazil, and explaining how they make their living with their talents as seamstresses. 

And then the story splits into two different parts, when Luzia -the sister with the deformed arm- gets abducted by a dangerous group of rebels that make their way through Brazil. One part of the story takes about the life Luiza now has, and the other stays by her sister Emília and how her life turns out. 

It showcases the clear difference between -not only two sisters- but how different live can be in the same country and between two sisters and how different their life path can become. 

It is a wonderful story, talking about actual historical events and difficulties in a fictional form, showcasing and pointing to clear hardships and also the beauty of growing up and leaving the middle of nowhere Brazil. 

I have never heard anyone talk about this book. And i bought it for a few Euros in a "end of the year, get all the books we never got sold throughout the year" sale. I saw the cover -loved the simplicity of it, read the back and just wanted to learn more about the book. And i was so positively surprised and i can only say that if you want to read about a different part of the world, learn a different aspect of live and gt a really interesting and fantastically written story about life and love and sisters and can't give up on each other no matter where the other one is or even if they know if they are still alive, try this book. Give it a change, it is so worth the read!



2. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond



So to start this book out: This is a non fiction historical society book. It talks and speculate about actual human history and society events. But it also talks about a huge amount of diverse minority groups. No only about different religious groups, but actual groups of people that are now a clear minority on this world. And i don't think that it gets more diverse then actually talking basically about every part of this worlds human's history.  

Now the reason that i enjoy this book is not because of how the author writes -even thought he doesn't write bad, it is quite enjoyable to read actually- or because it won a Pulitzer Prize. Or because so many people talked about it or so many people have to read it for school reasons. 

I started to read this book because it is supposed to be a fantastic book that showcases the ideas of human development based on race. And honestly i am very interested in that, because i find it fascinating to learn more about what actually makes us all different. Is it where we come from? Our religion? Our upbringing? Our culture? Our skin color? Does all that matter at all? Are we just hardwired to specific type of thinking depending on where we grow up that some cultures don't have? Are we developing back or forward? how different are we actually from culture that chose to not live with all the modern advances that we have in our daily lives? And are we -the modern world partcaters- really in the advantage or are we the ones that should go back and learn from those cultures that are not completely dependent on electronics? 

I am just generally fascinated with the human animal in general. I find our bodies interesting, how you can grow up in the same family with practically the same genetics and think completely differently in the same situation with the same known facts. How is it that our brains are so different from each other? How is it that our cultures are so different and in a way the same? Why do some countries develop in a different way then others? Why are some aspects more important to some cultures then to others? 

I could go on. I won't because i understand that not everyone is as fascinated with the topic as i am, but really. I just find this book interesting because it does go into details on how and why the different countries and cultures evolved and goes into the speculation how we came to be the people that we are today in the areas of the world that we live in. 

This is not a book for everyone. 

If you are not really interested in learning and understanding more about human culture and history, about evolution and development based on cultural differences, this book will be boring for you. If you don't want to learn while reading, this book will bore you. If you have a specific mind set on the topic of how human evolved and where the human society should evolve to, this book will be nothing for you because you will have to have an open mind to see different aspects and ideas to how humans came to where we are. This book is not about pointing out what happened, but more a book pointing out how it could have happened or how it most likely happened. There is no: This is what happened. Nobody knows that today. But if you are looking for that and are not open for ideas or speculations, don't read this. It will be nothing you enjoy. 

But if you are interested in trying something new, maybe learning a bit about our history and getting your feet wet in trying to understand the mysteries that is our human evolution, this book can be the perfect stepping stone into a deeper interest. 

I personally really enjoyed getting a few into a different mindset, learning more about different cultures and aspects of human society, getting a deeper view into how different cultures see different things and just generally learning more about human nature. And while i do not always behind the ideas that the author represents, and i don't always agree with how the author sees specific things, i can respect his ideas and viewpoints. And it showcases me a different way of seeing the world. Which to me is the entire point of books like this. So i really enjoyed this and i am thinking about picking up another one of his books. 



3. Beautiful Ghosts by Eliot Pattison



Interestingly enough it is a book that i want to recommend, even though I personally did not love this book. I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong. But it is not one of my favorite books and normally i only recommend the ones that i really truly loved. Still this is one that i really do recommend quite often, even though i did not see it as one of my personal favorites. 

It is about an inspector that worked in Beijing but post is position, his family and his freedom when he made a mistake regarding a powerful figure in a high position in the Chinese government. The Inspector was unofficially realized from the work camp he was sentenced to and now he has to live in the remote mountains of Tibet with a group of outlawed Buddhist monks, without a status, official identity or the freedom to return to his former home or even see his family in Beijing. 

This is clearly a fiction book, so not all aspects are actually fact -clearly fiction and all that, duh!- but the overall aspects of the story are believable. Because the Chinese government did have a time -and many different governments all over the world really- where you were sentenced to a work camp or prison if you made the wrong move. And the overall Tibet mountains and monks parts of the story are also written in a way that you can believe that this is actually how this part of the world lives. 

I definitely enjoyed reading and learning about how the Chinese government treated Tibet's people, how they treated Buddhists and monks in general. 

The reason that this is not one of my favorite books is because of the main character -the Inspector Shan- and how he handled stations and overall just how he decided to go about situations. I can understand that it must be difficult for someone to lose your entire live, especially if you think you didn't necessary do something wrong and it must be hard to know that you might never see your family again. That is all understandable, still if remember thinking that Shan was a bit whiny and i did not love that. 

The rest of the book, however, i really did enjoy and i enjoyed reading about the different aspects of history of the region and learning about the religion and all that. 

And I know that Buddhism is not necessary a minority group, but i do believe that Tibet is an area in the world that counts and the people that live there are clearly a minority group. So if you want to read a fiction book that really goes into showcasing the difficulties some religious groups have with a different government and just overall how a cultural minority group survives in the control of a bigger country. 



4. Mutant Message from forever by Marlo Morgan



I read both books that are about this topic by this author. The Mutant Message and this one. And both are fantastic, so don't take that just because i choose this one the other one is less fantastic. Read both. They are worth it. 

This is a book about the Australian Aborigines. It is a story about twins that were separated at birth and search for the roots that reunite them from opposite sides of the globe. It is a moving story about acceptance and opens, about learning where we come from and the directions out lives can take. 

Overall it is just an interesting story about the outback in Australia, the lives there, and how sometimes the most interesting aspects can change your life forever. And maybe that is good... or not. 

I loved this book because it really gave me a few on how different cultures can be and how interesting live is in different aspects of the world. I just enjoyed it overall to learn more about Australia and the way of live. It is overall just an interesting book about a cultural minority and their history and wisdom that they share. 

I don't know how much of this book is true and what is fiction, but i just enjoyed reading it and it is a diversity book because it is about a minority group. And if you want to read about the Australian outback and the people that live there, or lived their what do i know?, try this and see if you like it. 






And now on to the books that i really hope to get to and heard others talk about and love because of the diversity aspects of the book. But since i have not read it yet, i don't know how true that really is. Still. Here is the list i want to read sometime soon. 



5. The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley



This is a book about the traditions of the old Norse sagas. 
Not only are those a minority group, but also really interesting "religion" if you want to call it that. 
I also just enjoy learning more about mythology and Norse stories and sagas are right on top on that list, and i am also always on the look out for a book that takes place in medieval Europe, but not in the typical places such as England, France or the German speaking areas, but in the Scandinavian countries of Europe -not sure which ones since was i said i have not read it yet. 
I have never read a book before that takes place during that time period and not in either of those before named areas in Europe, so that alone makes it interesting to me. And did i mention Norse sagas already? Yes, alright. 
Also i read that this book is supposed to be a really good book that takes the reader into the world of gamers, priests and law speakers, hunts and feasts and long-standing feuds and will take you tot the remote time, place and people that will become real and dear to the reader. Sounds fantastic.



6. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone



Alright this is not a book that nobody knows about. Actually the opposite. This is one of the most talked about books at the moment. Everywhere you look this book is mentioned. 

Still i want to get my hands on it because it is a book about a chronicle illness -since OCD does count as that to me- and i do enjoy a book that really does showcase a much talked about disease that is rarly portrait right. And i heard this book does it right. So there is that aspect. 

And i also heard that it is a overall fantastic story and really well written. So yes, i want to read this. 



7. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon



Is another book that people can currently not stop talking about. And i want to read it. 

This is about another sick girl that is literarily allergic to the outside world. And i really want to read it and see how the author manages to talk about a difficult illness and if she does it in a way that makes sense or not. 

Because lets be honest, serve allergies are not something that can be overlooked and if you re allergic to everything, that is not easy. I personally suffer through a huge amount of food allergies that are not easy to go around, so while i might not understand being allergic to everything, i do have a good understanding how difficult it is not to be able to have a typical day because of the allergies. 

And to that comes that i am chronically ill and most of the time bound to home, because of that, i am really inserted to read how this author manages to put the actual real difficulties of having those problems in real life into a book. 

I will get this as soon as i can and read it most likely right away and see how well it was done. But i did hear fantastic things about. 



8. Small World by Martin Suter



Yes, i know once again a book about an illness. Sorry, but that is just a topic that i like to read about. Personal interest and all that. 
This is a book my mother read and loved, actually she read a few books by this author and enjoyed, but i think this is one of the few by him that have been translated into english. 

This is a book about Alzheimer's and how devastating it can be not only for the family but the actual person having it. 

Not only is this an illness that i am interested in because i find it interesting to learn more about it in general, but my great-grandmother had it and it was devastating to see her literally waste away because of it. 

This is supposed to be a fantastic story about crucial moments in life, the danger of losing who you are and what makes you you and the overall difficulties of accepting that a disease can make you lose yourself completely.  Sounds fantastic to me. 



9. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed



This is another new release from 2015. I have read a similar books years ago where a girl was taken by her father back to Pakistan and forced into a marriage that turned horrible wrong. And while i can't actually say that i loved this book -simply because the story was true and so devastating to read about all the horrors this girl had to survive until she finally was able to flee and leave that horror behind her-i did enjoy learning about the aspects and being reminded that there really is such a thing as forced marriage and sold children. 
This books sounds as if it is a similar plot, but not an actual real story. It is realistic fiction, so it is not as if it couldn't happen, but it is not an actual memoir. And since it has been a while since i read about such a topic and story, i want to pick this up and see how well it is done. And also, beautiful cover. Not that that should matter with this type of book. still. 

This story is about a girl, whose parents come from Pakistan and immigrated -i am guessing the USA- and she grows up with relative freedom. Meaning that she can choose what she wants to study, how to wear her hair and what she wants to be when she grows up. What she is now allowed is having a boyfriend or choosing her own husband, because that something that her parents are standing very firm on in their cultural tradition. They arranged a marriage for her, and their daughter is going to take part in it, no matter where she grew up. And so when the girl breaks the rule and meats and falls in love with a boy, her parents pack her up and travel to Pakistan where she is to marry the man her parents picked out for her. From there it is a mystery until the book is read, if she manages to escape this path her parents forced her into, or if she is cut off completely from he live she grew up in. 

It sounds fantastic to me, and i really want to read it, and see how well this story is done, especially since i do have the comparison to the actual true story that i read a few years ago. 



10. Joyride by Anna Banks



I am not sure if I already talked about this in one of my earlier Top 10 posts, because i am very exited about this book which came out last month. So it is possible that i already mentioned it. 

But that doesn't matter, because i will just talk about this here again. 

This is a book that is about a girl whose parents were deported to Mexico and she has to work hard on getting them back, and about a boy whose older sister Amber has a mental illness and is dead -either killed or not, who knows? The characters are as different from each other as can be, with the girl wanting to not get notice and do what is right for her family, while the boy wants nothing more then to be noticed and do everything that his family is against. 

This book is apparently a wonder in balancing hard topics and harsh real world events with a funny and romantic spin to them. And to be it is just interesting to read about how the parents can be deported but not the children and what the children can do to get their parents back. As well as how america deals with mental illness. You know generally just interested in this book. And it is diverse in its topic. so here you go. Last book on this list. 




Alright those are all the books that i have for you guy's today. 

Did you read any of the six books that i listed that want to read? Read any of those that i have read?

Want to get the list of diverse books in german that i couldn't find a translation for?

Let me know, i always enjoy talking with anyone that comments :)

Until later....

Comments

  1. The hype around Every Last Word is definitely well-deserved - it's amazing. I hope you can read it soon! Everything Everything, Written in the Stars, and Joyride are on my TBR. I'm going to have to check out a few of the others on your list.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier! :-)

    ~Marie @ Ramblings of a Daydreamer

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    Replies
    1. I am always happy to hear when people say that the hype is well deserved for a book. I will check that out as soon as i can. :)
      I hope that any of the books you look into from my list and read, you will enjoy :)
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Delete
  2. Everything, Everything sounds so interesting. I actually just got the ARC through NetGalley, so I'm really excited to pick it up. Great list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a little jealous that so many have gotten this book through NetGalley, but it wasn't available for me to get there as well ;) I hope you enjoy it when you get to it.
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      Delete
  3. I haven't read Every Last Word yet but it sounds really interesting. And yes, like you said, everyone's been raving about it at the moment. Love your list and I love your thoughts on each one too. Thanks for sharing!

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT earlier :)

    New bloglovin follower :)

    Obsessive Compulsive Reader

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    Replies
    1. I am very interested to see how the OCD was handled in Every Last Word, i do hope it is as nicely done as everyone says it is. We'll see when we read it, right? :)
      Thank you, for stopping by and leaving a comment.
      And for the bloglovin' following :)

      Delete
  4. I'm SO excited to read Joyride! I have a copy and I have no idea why I haven't read it yet. Need to read it SOON!! I'm excited for Everything, Everything as well. I love seeing more diverse books lately! :)

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    Replies
    1. You have Joyride and haven't read it yet?
      Well i can't really talk, since i do have quite a few books that are about to come out and haven'T read yet too, but still ;)
      I hope you do a review when you get to it, i will definitely check that out and see what you thought of it, once you get to it.
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :)

      Delete

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