Literary Fiction by People of Color discussion

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message 2: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Culpepper | 9 comments I read the article a few weeks back and wholeheartedly agree with it. I'm also a new user to Goodreads and so am not sure if I'm jumping ahead of myself but am a little disappointed in the lack of diversity on this site as well. Seems like most recommendations that are highly sought after don't include diverse authors or protagonist! Can someone steer me in the right direction?


message 3: by Andre (new)

Andre (nacirfa) | 52 comments So what are you actually looking for? The promotion of more diverse books or sites where more diverse books are being promoted?


message 4: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Culpepper | 9 comments Looking for sites where diversity is celebrated. With the millions of readers on this site I really didn't think it would be that difficult to find here. Any suggestions you can give would be appreciated.


message 5: by Nell (last edited May 04, 2015 11:03AM) (new)

Nell | 35 comments It's hard to know what you mean by 'celebrated' that's such a subjective word. Goodreads has discussion groups for a broad range of readers. Just as this one is specific to books by authors of color. You can click on "Groups" at the top of the page and enter search terms for other genres or types of books that interest you. You can also click on "Listopia" from the drop down Explore menu and enter search terms for books by location, subject, genre, time period, ethnicity, et al.


message 6: by Andre (new)

Andre (nacirfa) | 52 comments I have a couple sites for you. Email me at Andre.kelton@yahoo.com


message 7: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 338 comments While we're on the topic of "diverse reading" I can't tell you how great it is to have the thread here in the Literary Fiction by People of Color group that captures a running list of links to books that are lbgt/poc. It's really great to see how long the list is and to see how many I have left to read.


message 8: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Culpepper | 9 comments Thanks Nell for your comments part of my frustration with Goodreads is just not being familiar with the Site itself. I just don't see the embracing of a wide range of authors or illustrators not necessary the genre of books covered here.


message 9: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Culpepper | 9 comments Will do Andre- I appreciate your help and openness!


message 10: by Deborah (last edited May 05, 2015 01:18PM) (new)

Deborah | 43 comments I'm disappionted to find that I cant access the article.

I've discovered a pretty huge array of stuff here. (This may not be pertinent to the conversation, as I'm working from the topic's title and can't read the article.)


message 11: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 338 comments I believe the same article appeared in the Guardian (UK). Maybe you can link to this one:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisf...

The author of the article discusses her experience of trying to read only non-white authors for a year. The article is good-hearted but one thing that I couldn't get behind is that she indiscriminately used the terms "minority" and "non-white" and "people of color" and "ethnic" and "diverse" as if these were interchangeable, and as if she had forgotten entirely that the world includes non-white authors who are not writing as a minority relative to their reading audience. Murakami for example is a non-white author but he is not a minority and he doesn't represent diversity from within his own culture. By forgetting that, it seemed to me the author is still thinking of the world of books from a white-centered perspective, even after trying to cure herself of that for a year.


message 12: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 43 comments Thank you for the link. You'll all have to forgive me if I'm a little amused. Maybe she opened up her world, not so much because she read books by minority, non-white, people of color and ethnic diversity, but rather because she was reading something that wasn't a mystery or something written by a guy who's been dead for four hundred years. You kind of have to think anything she read at that point would have to be a revelation.


message 13: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 338 comments Deborah wrote: "Thank you for the link. You'll all have to forgive me if I'm a little amused. Maybe she opened up her world, not so much because she read books by minority, non-white, people of color and ethnic di..."

It's also amusing or maybe not so amusing come to think of it that such a naive reader gets published worldwide and in outlets like the Guardian and WaPo simply for challenging herself, shock, to read 25 books by non-white authors.


message 14: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 43 comments I agree. This hardly seems like an accomplishment worthy of great note. Unless or until I suppose we stop and think that there are people whose world view is so limited that they think that the only books worth reading are mysteries written by white authors and Shakespeare (dead white author.) And how wonderful that she discovered that there is more to literature. Perhaps her discovery will prompt others to go out and discover too. (And yet, I am still amused and chagrined.)


message 15: by lark (last edited May 05, 2015 06:16PM) (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 338 comments I'm sorry, my last comment was a little mean maybe. I think it would be a huge challenge to me personally to limit my reading to solely non-white authors for a year since so much that has survived of english writing or that was published in english in the first place before the 20th century was written by white men and published by white men. Her point is still solid and her exercise would be a good way for me to get closer to realizing all the voices that have been lost.


message 16: by Deborah (last edited May 05, 2015 06:31PM) (new)

Deborah | 43 comments I didn't think it was mean at all. I think there's something a little ugly about this. Unintentionally, but ugly all the same. I'm white, and I'm Jewish. Sometimes when I read Jewish authors there will be a moment that is informed by common experience that feels intimate in the way that meeting a New Yorker when travelling feels intimate. Sometimes I seek that out. But mostly, I read books, because they are good. Because they speak to my humanity in a general way. Because they entertain or make me think, or hit me in the gut with a lead pipe. I don't usually care who wrote them. For me, and perhaps, this too is short sighted in a way that I'm too limited to see is also shallow, I just want to be engaged and transported. I'll read books by anyone from anywhere if they can put me in the character's head and let me empathize in some way.

For a woman to say I am a white woman who is reading books by diverse and ethnic people of color, who are non-white and this is news, well, that's just... sad.


message 17: by Ming (last edited May 07, 2015 06:53AM) (new)

Ming | 154 comments Poingu wrote: "...she indiscriminately used the terms "minority" and "non-white" and "people of color" and "ethnic" and "diverse" as if these were interchangeable, and as if she had forgotten entirely that the world includes non-white authors who are not writing as a minority relative to their reading audience..."

I completely agree with this point! The perspective based on power or politics makes such a huge difference in the storytelling.

I intentionally choose non-white authors. I find those stories more compelling, more nurturing and more expansive. But making such choices requires due diligence. Authors of color who are "sell outs" or promote a certain racist/sexist, fetishized or boring trope do not get on my reading list. And I'll add: authors who actively hide their identity (eg., racial, cultural, ethnic, gender/s, etc.) don't get on THE list either.

One of my favorite sources of multi-cultural books, especially in the American context, is: http://smithsonianapa.org/bookdragon/


message 18: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 10 comments yup its looking a little pale here. you have to dig to find anything of real interest ....


message 19: by Ming (last edited May 07, 2015 06:48PM) (new)

Ming | 154 comments Today, two different people pointed me to this blog entry: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jarrylee/esse.... I don't like "have to," "must" or "essential," when reading preferences are so personal. My reaction to a few of the usual suspects was "What in the Sam Hill?!" But hey, at least there's something I can react TO. And it is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the USA.

Stacey, I add my own take on Asian American writers (as broadly as that label goes) here:

Exceptional
Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer is ah-mazing!)
Monique Truong
V.V. Ganeshananthan
Quan Barry
Amit Majmudar
Sorayya Khan
Jhumpa Lahiri, especially for Lowland
Paul Yoon for Once the Shore
Don Lee for The Collective
Andrew X. Pham
Chang-rae Lee for Native Speaker

Notable
Kim Fu
Ru Freeman
Celeste Ng
Alia Yunis
Nafisa Haji
Vaddey Ratner
Randa Jarrar
Nayomi Munaweera
Fae Myenne Ng
Alexander Chee
Khaled Hosseini for his first two books
Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi for The Last Song of Dusk
Bich Minh Nguyen
Tahmima Anam (US-educated)

A few Canadian authors (coz it is part of the continent)
Madeleine Thien
Frances Itani for Requiem & Deafening
Rohinton Mistry


message 20: by lark (last edited May 07, 2015 08:17PM) (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 338 comments Ming wrote: "Today, two different people pointed me to this blog entry: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jarrylee/esse.... I don't like "hav..."

Thanks for this list, Ming.

I really like your take on The Sympathizer. I thought it was ah-mazing, too, but it also left me screaming with disappointment at its near misses at greatness which blended out to a falsely bland 3 star review from me.

Also thanks to this novel I learned a new word (crapulent)


message 21: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 10 comments ehe love reading because you will learn new words and expand your vocabulary. :) #cookie


message 22: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Culpepper | 9 comments Ming wrote: "Today, two different people pointed me to this blog entry: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jarrylee/esse.... I don't like "hav..."

Thank you Ming, I appreciate your suggestions. My illustrators of both my books are from diverse backgrounds but I would just as readily have worked with ANY illustrator of other cultural experiences. Variety is the spice of life! I appreciate your positivity in addressing my concerns!


Brown Girl Reading Listopia is questionable. I get a little worried when I see The Help listed as number 18 on the list of Best African American books. The Help is sandwiched between too exceptional books A Lesson Before Dying and The Women of Brewster Place. Not to mention The Secret Life of Bees is placed at number 22. :(

Nell wrote: "It's hard to know what you mean by 'celebrated' that's such a subjective word. Goodreads has discussion groups for a broad range of readers. Just as this one is specific to books by authors of col..."


Brown Girl Reading I totally agree with this article 150%. She could have even gone further because I need #ReadWomen2015 going around on Twitter but it seems that black women authors are being completely ignored as a result. Glad there are groups like this on Goodreads and excellent blogs and You Tube channels talking about black writers. They really need the publicity - old and new. Andre wrote: "http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteve..."


message 25: by Nell (new)

Nell | 35 comments Didi wrote: "Listopia is questionable. I get a little worried when I see The Help listed as number 18 on the list of Best African American books. The Help is sandwiched between too exceptional books A Lesson B..."

Absolutely!! The lists are open to any GR member so books on the list can be bizarre!


Brown Girl Reading Smh....


message 27: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Culpepper | 9 comments K.P. wrote: "yup its looking a little pale here. you have to dig to find anything of real interest ...."

My sentiments exactly!!!!


message 28: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Culpepper | 9 comments Didi wrote: "Listopia is questionable. I get a little worried when I see The Help listed as number 18 on the list of Best African American books. The Help is sandwiched between too exceptional books A Lesson B..."

Ok! Women of Brewsters Place was so delectable and refreshingly complex that I don't understand how it's not rated higher on Listopia. Well I will continue to post, blog, and talk my way through the lack of diversity issues in literacy!


message 29: by Ming (last edited May 09, 2015 12:34PM) (new)

Ming | 154 comments Stacey wrote: "Well I will continue to post, blog, and talk my way through the lack of diversity issues in literacy! ..."

yes! we got to. have you seen the GR Blog and its monthly Newsletter? and GR is global to boot?! talk about SMH!

Those listopia lists do little for me. It's so much work to be a reader of diverse books. I think the ray of hope for diversity on GR rests in its reader groups and this one is a huge resource.

I know the publishing "world" and book selling channels are predominantly white and have appropriated "diversity" for market gains and/or political expediency. My antidote to this is making an extra, almost heroic effort to educate myself, as well as to research, search and make choices to meet my own reading needs (yes! "needs").

And I'll throw this on the table too. My other hope is to find books where the diverse characters don't exist in silos. Instead, the folks intermingle in a multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-ethnic mix and it's no big deal and it's fun.


message 30: by Andre (new)

Andre (nacirfa) | 52 comments Ming, I think you are on the right track, you must be proactive in seeking your reading "needs" You simply can't sit back and expect GR or Amazon to be as passionate about diverse books as those constanly and consistently seeking diverse authors. The other part is to encourage authors to embrace their heritage and history, and stop trying to silence their particularism. That would hellp tremendously. I hear people say they just want to read good books. Well, you can't say whether a book is good until AFTER you read it. So, what one is really after is the appeal to them of what is considered good. And like Stacey's original inquiry, what gets reviewed and splashed on landing pages of websites are generally not writers of color. So, you have to dig a little deeper and work a little harder to SUPPORT writers of color and they have to reciprocate that support by making themselves known and readily available.


message 31: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Culpepper | 9 comments Ming wrote: "Stacey wrote: "Well I will continue to post, blog, and talk my way through the lack of diversity issues in literacy! ..."

yes! we got to. have you seen the GR Blog and its monthly Newsletter? a..."


Enough said Ming!!!!


message 32: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Culpepper | 9 comments Andre wrote: "Ming, I think you are on the right track, you must be proactive in seeking your reading "needs" You simply can't sit back and expect GR or Amazon to be as passionate about diverse books as those co..."

That's another BIG issue Andre-the need for all of us to support each others' worl. Progress is there-it's just slow in coming! I appreciate being among fellow readers/writers like yourselves!


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