One of my goals for my 2020 reading was to diversify my reading. Instead of just reading high fantasy after high fantasy after high fantasy (you get the picture), I wanted to branch out into other genres. Not only this, but I made a conscious effort to diversify my books based on their representation, their authors, and their format. I have really branched out, and I think it’s important for other people to as well. So, here are five ways you can diversify your reading, and a few of my favourite recommendations to get you started!
Read books by authors of colour and/or with POC representation
Now more than ever, we should be striving to educate ourselves on racial equality. In turn, this helps us understand what we can do to make a change. Some of my favourite reads from this year, particularly YA books, featured people of colour as the leading protagonists, and allowed me to read some fantastic stories whilst also learning a lot and reforming the way I think. White authors are also increasingly more privileged than authors of colour in the publishing industry in terms of their pay and marketing amongst other things, so if we can strive to support authors of colour by reading their books and sharing them on our social medias, we can start pushing towards equality in the publishing industry.
Recommendations: Clap When You Land, A Song Below Water, You Should See Me In A Crown, A River of Royal Blood.
Read books with LGBTQ+ representation
In my previous article, I spoke about quite a few books that included LGBTQ+ representation, and the importance of showing stories other than those of cis white heterosexual characters. These stories do not have to just be romance either; any book that strives to normalise and include queer representation is a fantastic one to support. It’s important that we try to allow everyone to see themselves and their experiences represented in literature, and again, educate others on how to be more supportive and understanding, which goes a long way to helping normalise a natural, normal thing.
Recommendations: The Priory of the Orange Tree, Girl, Serpent Thorn, All Boys Aren’t Blue, The Black Flamingo, Felix Ever After
Read translated work
I feel like one of the most overlooked areas of reading diversely is reading translated works. It’s so easy to forget that there are thousands of other stories being told out there that are very likely inspired by unique and interesting cultures, that we don’t think to touch upon. I gave myself a goal of reading at least one translated work a month this year, and so far, I’ve been surpassing it. One of them was the first four instalments of The Witcher, a Polish high fantasy series, that is 100% going to end up as my new favourite series if it carries on as fantastically as it has been so far!
Recommendations: The Witcher, Les Misérables, The Vegetarian, The Count of Monte Cristo
Read non-fiction and own-voices books
As well as reading books with POC and LGBTQ+ representation, one of my favourite ways to educate myself on the problems this world still faces is by reading biographies and informational books. Whether they have focused on gender equality, racism, immigration, or other, I have read a lot of books this year that really changed my perspective of the world, and opened my eyes to so many injustices that deserve attention but just don’t get the appropriate action they deserve.
Recommendations: In The Country We Love, Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, Not That Bad
Read graphic novels, comics and manga
Instead of just changing the content of the stories you digest, why not try to change the format you consume them in? Graphic novels and manga have overtaken my reading this year, and I am yet to read one I didn’t like. These are especially great if you want to try and read more, but struggle to focus on lots of heavily-worded stories; the beautiful artwork really takes the strain off!
Recommendations: Tokyo Ghoul, Heartstopper, Through the Woods, Saga, Fence, Nimona, Voices in the Dark