Saturday 6 December 2014

Reading Diversely: Some Book I Want to Read

I've talked a bit about wanting to read more diversely during Nonfiction November and also in my list of Bookish Resolutions for 2015. I also know I have a fair amount of diverse authors on my shelves, just never get around to them, so I though as a way to help myself I'd make a list here of a few that I already own which I'm excited to get around to!

Drown is the only one of Junot Diaz's books I've not yet read and as it features the same character as The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This is How You Lose Her, which is one of my favourite books of this year, there's no excuse not to read it. Plus, it's tiny. Diaz is a Dominican born Dominican-American author and thus fulfills the criteria of not being from the US or UK. Also, he's awesome.

I read Zadie Smith's debut, White Teeth waaaay back when I was in uni and taking a course on literature and London. I remember really enjoying her vivid descriptions and the way she brought the city to life. I have two of her other books - On Beauty and NW but for some reason the latter just calls to me more. Although she is British born, she has Jamaican heritage and if White Teeth is anything to go by that comes out in her writing.

I've actually already started reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and was really enjoying it before Nonfiction November snuck up on my reading and made it all educational (and awesome!). Despite its length I'm really excited to get back to this as it was really fast paced. So far this is the only translated novel on my list. Murakami is, probably obviously, a Japanese author.

I have a couple of Amy Tan novels and The Joy Luck Club has been following me around since secondary school, despite which I've managed to not yet actually read it. This will be remedied asap as the premise sounds really interesting and right up my street. Amy Tan is an American whose parents are Chinese immigrants.

I read Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw during my first year of blogging as part of the Geographical Reading Challenge and I really enjoyed the experience of reading about a country and experiences so far from my own. I've had The Harmony Silk Factory for way longer though, since my very early days on ReaditSwapit (we're talking at least six years ago now) and I honestly have no idea why I haven't yet read it. I suck. Tash Aw is a Malaysian writer.

And finally, The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen was a book I had previously never heard of which I unearthed in the 'Holiday Book Swap' box in our local (and amazing) ice cream parlour. It sounds so interesting and full of mystery and intrigue, plus it has a really pretty cover. I will be getting to this sooner rather than later! Jakobsen is Danish.

I know I have a lot more than this and there's a lot more I want to read that I haven't put on this list (Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for example) because I don't actually own it, although I can get hold of it from the library easily. Looking at this, it really shouldn't be difficult to fulfill my one in three quota for next year, and I'm not as woman-heavy as I thought! There's a sentence I never thought I'd write...

Does anybody have any recommendations for me?


  1. I have yet to read 1Q84 so that's on my list as well. Though I've watched The Joy Luck Club a trillion times, I haven't actually read the book... so that one's just been added to the list. As for recommendations: would you consider Jhumpa Lahiri a British author? Or Indian? Or American? Most of her stories are about Bengali life, so I'm never quite sure where to place her...

  2. I've never actually read anything by her although I've often picked books up and put them down again...i guess she would count as diverse on the basis of her Indian heritage,at least as much as Amy Tan and Zadie Smith do! It's so difficult to define diversity! And then,is a book only diverse if its by a diverse author or also if it features diverse characters?

    1. You should check her out! Like Amy Tan, she specializes slice of life humor, stories of immigration and sacrifice, and nostalgia for the homeland. I recommend "Unaccustomed Earth" and "Interpreter of Maladies". Both are short stories so you can put the book down and always come back to it.