The Diverse Books Tag

the-diversebooks-tag

This year Naz at Read Diverse Books started his own book tag, The Diverse Books Tag, which was predictably awesome! I took part on instagram but thought with the new blog focus I’d do a proper tag post. Since my focus is on reading women of Color I thought I’d look for/recommend a book for every category at the intersections of WOC. Also, as far as I’m aware these books are all #ownvoices. Lastly, I’m basically treating this as a personal tbr ūüėÄ

Here are the rules:

  1. Credit the original creator, Read Diverse Books.
  2. The Diverse Books Tag is a bit like a scavenger hunt. I will task you to find a book that fits a specific criteria and you will have to show us a book you have read or want to read.
  3. If you can’t think of a book that fits the specific category, then I encourage you to go look for one. A quick Google search will provide you with many books that will fit the bill. (Also, Goodreads lists are your friends.) Find one you are genuinely interested in reading and move on to the next category.

1. Find a book starring a lesbian character.

Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett gr-pic

jam-on-the-vine-black-lesbian

A Black lesbian lit classic about¬†the first female-run African-American newspaper, Jam! On the Vine,¬†set during the Jazz age. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

2.Find a book with a Muslim protagonist.

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik gr-pic

sofia-khan-is-not-obliged

Basically romance but I want to read more fun lit and I’ve heard good things about it from Muslim book bloggers, so will give it a try.

3.Find a book set in Latin America.

Malambo by  Lucia Charun-Illesca,translated from Spanish by Emmanuel Harris II. gr-pic

malambo-latinam

It’s important to seek out Afro-Latina voices and I read barely any Peruvian lit so this one sounded like a good start.

4.Find a book about a person with a disability.

Dirty River by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha gr-pic

dirty-river

Love her poetry and have a copy of her memoir waiting on my shelf.

5.Find a Science-Fiction or Fantasy book with a POC protagonist.

The Stars Change by Mary Anne Mohanraj gr-pic

the-stars-change

This is set on a South Asian settled university planet on the brink of war between humans, aliens and modified humans. This book is “an erotic science fiction novel-in-stories” and sounds pretty cool. If you’ve read this let me if it’s romance heavy please!

6.Find a book set in (or about) any country in Africa.

Go Tell the Sun by Wame Molefhe gr-pic

go-tell-the-sun

The stories in this collection are set in Botswana and I’ve read that there’s lesbian rep in at least one of them. The author also contributed a story to the Queer Africa collection.

7.Find a book written by an Indigenous or Native author.

Not Vanishing by Chrystos gr-pic

not-vanishing-chrystos

Menominee poet Chrystos is a “warrior, writer, and arrow in the throat of colonization.”

8.Find a book set in South Asia (Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc.).

The Quilt & Other Stories by Ismat Chughtai gr-pic

ismat-chughtai

Ismat Chughtai was a feminist Urdu writer exploring gender, sexuality and caste in Muslim India’s middle-class. So happy my friend Vishy gifted me¬†one of her books!

9.Find a book with a biracial protagonist.

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow gr-pic

girl-fell-sky

The main character Rachel is the daughter of a white Danish mother and an African-American father and goes to live with her grandmother after a tragedy. I reviewed this book here.

10. Find a book starring a transgender character or about transgender issues.

Me Hijra, Me Laxmi by Laxmi gr-pic

me-hijra

This is the memoir of Indian hijra activist Laxmi. Though it has been translated from Marathi and apparently also slightly edited by the translators. Still on my tbr!

Have you read any of these? Where to start? Let me know in the comments!

Basically, everyone’s done this tag already but if not, consider yourself tagged! ūüôā

On Building A Personal Library: Attempts At Decolonizing My Shelves

personal library blog pic

I’ll be graduating soon and for the first time ever, really, I will not be spending most of my book money on course literature. Which is not to say that many of these books were not ones I enjoyed and want to keep, but some were indeed books I lugged around with me from place to place and never touched after the term paper was handed in. So in considering the current state of my shelves, how much I’ve grown as a reader and a person over the last years and also that I will probably be moving again sometime this year, well I decided it was a good time to start thinking about building a personal library.

My first step will be getting rid of more books (no worries, I’ll donate them). I’ve been sorting out books over the last year and frankly, it has been a relief. Not beholden to any institution or reading list any longer, I started looking through my bookstacks, yes also those in the very back, and found that about half of my library is made up of classics, dudebro lit and other mainstream white works. And so, I find my shelves are in desperate need of decolonizing.

Why do this? For me, this is a project of personal growth and working at transformation and social justice. It’s not a corset I’m trying to make myself fit into, or strange restrictions to make my reading life harder. This is who I am and who I hope to be and I want to surround myself with the thoughts and experiences of other people at the margins. I want to look at my shelves as a how-to on transformation, a place of support and an archive of knowledge.

Consider this an intro post, because writing about building a personal library is something I want come back to more often in the coming months, partly to document my progress (yes, there will be pics) and partly to think more on various specific building blocks. These are the acquisition of backlists of my favorite writers, secondary literature and non-fiction on race, feminism, food justice and history of medicine, and novels by women of color and further intersections beyond the few core texts I have. An example is that I have started to look for German women of color writers, which is much more difficult than it should be and so I need to educate myself on where to find these works because I want to connect more with my own history. Hopefully, decolonizing my shelves will go hand in hand with decolonizing my mind. Big words, but this is necessary.

What’s the start of your personal library? Are you happy with it or do you have any plans?