My next segment to introduce this week is what I call Diversity Friday, where I share my recommendations for reads that are in the spirit of diversity and other bookish things related to the topic.
One thing I truly believe is that diversity – meaning representation and discussion of everyone, representation of not just straight, white, western people but also people of other races, sexualities, cultures and of people who experience things like illnesses or disabilities – is a responsibility that we all have. As readers and as people really.
Being able to see someone like yourself in books can help people immensely when it comes to cultural awareness, self-esteem or dealing with something hard. If not, I think we can all agree it´s pretty awesome being able to read something and imagine you are the hero.
But, if we only write about one type of people, how are everyone supposed to be able to experience that? That´s why I as a reader and a writer think this is really important.
So, that said, here are my three recs for diverse reads this Friday!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This one is quite a classic that I think many of you have read, but if you haven´t, it´s about time. This book is written in a diary format where each chapter is a dairy entry by our main character Charlie.
Charlie is a freshman and by no means popular. Sure, he isn´t the biggest geek in school but he is very shy and introspective yet intelligent. Although he is very socially awkward, he is trying to navigate his way through the world of first dates, family drama, sex, drugs and friendship.
This book is written in a very easily read way and it´s quite a quick read, but it´s a good one. It brings up topics like homosexuality, domestic violence, loss, drugs and yet doesn’t end up feeling like some kind of info-book given to you in sixth grade, it feels like reading something real, something honest about a boy who happens to not be built as an Abercrombie model and who isn´t a popular macho dude.
Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
“You are wanted. You are necessary. You are loved.”
In this book by Jennifer Niven, author of All the Bright Places, we get to meet two quite different characters and read their story from their eyes.
Jack, a what seems like quite a regular guy is actually carrying a secret. A secret he hasn´t even told his parents and that he tries to protect at all costs. What nobody can see, is that Jack has prosopagnosia or face blindness, a condition causing him to not be able to remember faces.
Our second character, Libby, has just recovered from being mortally obese caused by a tragic incident. She is going back to school and now she must learn the ropes of high school and lessons in body image norms.
While I have a few points about this book I was a lesser fan of when I read it back in January, I still think it´s a good read and it´s really good for discussions. It brings up both how hard it can be living with an invisible disease and how important it is to realize you are worthy and beautiful no matter what.
You can also find my Goodreads review on it here.
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
“Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood. If I know anything about it, this is what I know: It’s impossible to escape.”
This book I read back in last May and I think it´s a really good read if you´re interested in something relating to depression and mental illness (trigger warning: suicide).
The book is about Aysel and Roman, two teenagers both suffering from depression. The book is quite unique since it´s written as a kind of countdown and that part kept me on my toes the whole time, (mild spoiler) thankfully the end has a twist, though. If not I think it might give an insight to how people with depression and suicidal thoughts feel and think.
And that´s it for this week! While these books are all focusing more on mental health and relationships, I still think they contain some diverse characters that are worthy of being under this tag, although in the future I also want to have weeks focusing on things like authors from different culture and books that focuses on characters with other than just western heritages. Let me know what you think and what you would be interested in in the comments!