Friday 21 November 2014

Nonfiction November Week 3: Diversity in Nonfiction

This week's topic for Nonfiction November (already the third week, I can't believe it) is diversity and is hosted by Becca of I'm Lost in Books. She asks

Diversity and Nonfiction: What does “diversity” in books mean to you? Does it refer to book’s location or subject matter? Or is it the author’s nationality or background? What countries/cultures do you tend to enjoy or read about most in your nonfiction? What countries/cultures would you like nonfiction recommendations for? What kind of books besides different cultures do you think of as books of diversity?

I've been thinking a lot about diversity recently, ever since I discovered various videos (including Book Riot's) on the subject and generally thinking that while I buy quite a bit of diverse fiction I don't ever actually read it, and my reading of diverse nonfiction is pretty much limited to... Iranian authors?

An important part of diversity for me is the author being from a different culture or background than myself (i.e not white British/American), although that's not the only important factor. Even if a book is written by a white British or American author but is about their experience of something I'm unlikely to ever experience then that, to me, is diversity in reading. The idea of the word diversity in my understanding is that not everything you're reading is the same; that you can have different 'experiences' and find out about a vast array of things through your reading. If that is from the point of view of somebody who has a completely different worldview from me, so much the better but it's not the only requirement.

That said, as previously mentioned, the only nonfiction I can remember reading by authors who would qualify as being from diverse backgrounds is Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, so clearly I need to expand my horizons wider than just Iran! If you're looking for quality Iranian nonfiction though I can recommend both of those titles highly!

So far all three (four if you count Assassination Vacation, which I'm currently reading) of the books I've read as part of Nonfiction November have been written by white people - a white Canadian man, and three white American women. So basically I suck at reading (or even owning I think!) nonfiction titles by people of colour. I need some recommendations please! In terms of particular subject matter, I'm honestly open to trying anything if it's well written and is going to give me some new knowledge!

I do feel very passionately about reading books by authors of colour and from cultures where they are less likely to be published as I believe that in publishing, as in the world in general, the way to become the best person you can be and have the best experience of society is through an exposure to many different cultures, experiences and worldviews. Help me out with your best recommendations everyone!


  1. Hey Bex! I know what you mean about diverse reading being more limited than you realize. Mine is as well! I am going to change that now. :)

    Btw, the text is a little hard to read because of the color. Hopefully I read everything right!

    1. thanks for reading it, that colour was horrendous! No idea what happened there, hopefully it's fixed now!