20 October 2017

7 Books to Diversify Your Reading List

There are myriad ways to diversify your reading. Some people concentrate on books written by people of color; others diversify by topic, looking for stories that offer a perspective different from their own. Still others look for books in translation, which expand their horizons beyond the English-speaking world. No matter how you define diversity, you’ll find a book or two from the seven novels featured today to add to your reading list. Note too that most of these books were published by small presses, which generally champion diverse voices.

  • 7 books to diversify your reading listAs Lie Is to Grin by Simeon Marsalis (Catapult, Oct. 10): A young black man tries to find his place at a predominately white New England university and in America in general, while hiding his true story from his girlfriend back in his native New York City. Diversity themes: author of color, the African American experience
  • A Duplicate Daughter by Randy Nelson (Harvard Square Editions, Oct. 31): A baby is rescued by a poor man after a 1936 earthquake in Mexico only to be re-rescued 12 years later by a wealthy family, leading everyone to question the girl’s true place. Diversity themes: Latin America, social justice
  • The Floating World by C. Morgan Bast (Algonquin, Oct. 17): This much-praised novel follows a mixed-race New Orleans family from preparations for and recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Diversity themes: race, mental health.
  • The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao by Martha Batalha (Oneworld Publications, Oct. 10): In the 1940s, a young Rio de Janeiro woman marries under family pressure, putting her dreams aside until her estranged sister reenters her life and changes everything. Diversity themes: translated from Portuguese, set in Brazil
  • This Is How It Begins by Joan Dempsey (She Writes Press, Oct. 3): Contemporary discrimination against gay teachers, rekindles an elderly art professor’s strong feelings of social justice, exposing her secret past as a member of the Nazi resistance. Diversity themes: LGBTQ, Jewish
  • Three Floors Up by Eshkol Nevo (Other Press, Oct. 10): The daily lives of three families residing in the same Tel Aviv apartment building provide a cross-sectional look at contemporary middle-class Israel, while exploring the more universal theme of how little we know the people around us. Diversity themes: translated from Hebrew, set in Israel
  • The Vineyard by María Dueñas (Atria, Oct. 3):This saga, set in the mid-1800s, takes readers from Mexico to Cuba, to Spain, as the Larrea family tries to rebuild their fortune and escape scandal. Diversity themes: Spanish-speaking world, slavery


Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 10/20/17, 7:14 AM  

What did you think about Floating World? I was planning to read it last week, then library holds started coming in, so now I've had to push it back.

Susie | Novel Visits 10/20/17, 8:46 AM  

I've looked at The Invisible Life a few times, but am just not sure. I haven't had the best of luck with translated books recently.

The Cynical Sailor 10/20/17, 9:05 AM  

Great suggestions! I've been trying to diversify my reading by purposefully seeking out books in genres I normally don't read or which cover subject matter I normally wouldn't be too interested in. You've got some great ideas here which I'll be checking out. Cheers - Ellen

jdempsey 10/20/17, 9:06 AM  

Delighted to be among these 7, Beth, thank you! I had the pleasure of having a book table next to Simeon Marsalis at the New England Independent Booksellers Association conference, and he had a steady stream of fans and well-wishers, and his book is now in my stack of books to read. Looking forward to exploring these others, too!

rhapsodyinbooks 10/20/17, 9:35 AM  

I kind of hated Floating World.

bermudaonion 10/20/17, 10:05 AM  

Thanks for putting this great list together.

(Diane) bookchickdi 10/20/17, 4:34 PM  

I would add Ayobami Adebayo's Stay With Me to this terrific list. She is a Nigerian author, and her debut novel about a marriage in crisis is one of the best books I have read this year.

Jackie McGuinness 10/21/17, 7:51 AM  

Two catch my eye.
This Is How It Begins
Three Floors Up

Daryl 10/23/17, 1:26 PM  

both the covers and your thumbnail overview are intriguing but i am all about escapism... thanks!

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