Book Lists for All Humans #5

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It’s been a while…not because there haven’t been lists published that weren’t gender balanced, I’m sure there have been, more because while I’m not compiling In the Media, I’m not in my media Twitter feed and so I’m not seeing them. However, I was on the Guardian website this afternoon and they’d published a new ‘Top 10 books’ list. DBC Pierre deserves some sort of award for producing the whitest, most male list I’ve seen so far. Apparently, women/people of colour don’t write books that writers should read. Be told people, only white men know how to write.

Here’s my alternative list, please feel free to suggest your own additions/alternatives in the comments:

To create a setting that feels as though it really exists: The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry

To see complex characters, whose behaviour raises questions about morality, in action: Waking Lions – Ayelet Gundar-Goshen (translated by Sondra Silverston)

To write successfully from a child’s point-of-view: My Name Is Leon – Kit de Waal

To manage a complex structure based on a lunar cycle and as good as any box set: The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

To change point-of-view in every chapter, including that of a dead body, and detail some of the atrocities of which humans are capable: Human Acts – Han Kang (translated by Deborah Smith)

To incorporate your own life and letters into fiction/essay/critique: I Love Dick – Chris Kraus

To bring a historical character to life: Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel

To write a coming-of-age story in fragmented sentences: A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing – Eimear McBride

To write a metafictional account of a massacre: The Gypsy Goddess – Meena Kandasamy

To create an unreliable, first person narrator: The Private Life of Mrs Sharma – Ratika Kapur

 

Links are to my reviews.

Diversity’s Not Just for December #ReadDiverse2016

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When my friend and fellow blogger Dan started the diverse December hashtag, I sent him a message that read ‘I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to tweet the shit out of #diversedecember. I think it’s a brilliant idea.’ It ended with us conceiving a plan to work on it together. However, neither of us could have envisaged how well it would be received, how many people would tweet recommendations and change their reading plans, nor that the hashtag would make the front of the Guardian Review.

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Fairly early on we began to discuss taking the project into 2016. I’ll let Dan take it from here with an extract from a post on his blog. You can read the full piece here.

I didn’t expect the reception to be so huge when I coined #diversedecember. Bloggers, readers, journalists and publishers have taken the hashtag and begun to explore diverse voices and stories. Although this initiative was conceived after the World Book Night list announcement, it’s clear that diversity needs to be considered at all times when reading. Over December, so far, Naomi and I have been inundated with recommendations for writers of colour, which is wonderful to see. We want that to continue and so we have decided that #diversedecember will carry on throughout 2016. Of course, we can’t use that hashtag any longer and there are many other fantastic initiatives promoting writers of colour, so we had a think about what we wanted to achieve.

#ReadDiverse2016 will focus on BAME books just as Diverse December has done, however, it’s clear from our interactions on Twitter that the hashtag has begun to touch on many ideas of diversity. Going forward, we hope to help and promote authors that identify as LGBTIQ, those who are disabled and those who suffer from mental health conditions. As this idea sparked from a lack of BAME representation, that will remain our primary focus, but we can’t have diversity without every single voice. Hashtags such as #TranslationThurs and #ReadWomen are already doing stellar work, as are The Green Carnation Prize. They each do a great job in highlighting books by authors that readers want to relate to – we’d like to add to that.

#diversedecember has taught me one very important thing – books are universal and everyone should have an equal opportunity to tell their story in their voice. Without Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic authors getting the recognition they deserve, we could be losing out on future generations of creative people who may believe that there is no place for them.

I hope that you’ll join in with me and Naomi as we promote diversity with the #ReadDiverse2016 hashtag on Twitter.

I’ll talk more about my plans on the 1st of January, I look forward to hearing about yours.