Why I Don’t Read Diverse Books

Hello guys! So as you can tell by the title of this post is going to be about everything diverse. Well not everything, I will be mainly focusing on the reading end and why at the end of a long day, or on the bus or just on my way to school I find myself reading books that are not on the diverse kind.

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All over the book community, people have been advocating for diversity, myself being a great supporter of this diverse books movement, but even though I want more diversity, I sometimes find I want a different kind of diverse books then other bibliophiles. What I mean is I don’t want diversity to be there just to be there. I don’t want a book shoving all of these different cultures, sexualities, races and the rest just to have the tag ‘diverse book’. This leads on to my first main reason.

1) I don’t want diversity shoved in my face

Some books just don’t know how to do subtly well. Just a quick mention of the race or skin colour or sexuality of a character is enough for me and I guess I’m just ‘afraid’ that some diverse books well just vomit diversity over every page. Just knowing a character is different from the conventional is good enough. My ‘fear’ isn’t ill-founded either, I have read some books that just seem to try too hard to fit the diverse quota, I find there is a normally two categories for this actually. Either they try so hard which causes characters to become their diversity as a character trait or the diversity issue becomes the entire plot.

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Me when a person’s race/sexuality is mentioned for the 5ooth time

2) Where are they though?

I know I just went on on one saying that I don’t want to diversity to be shoved in my face while reading the book, but I do want it to be shoved in my face when a book is being promoted! I guess I am just looking for a day or week or something that spotlights diverse books. Thankfully books that are more popular are becoming much more diverse, but we all know some of the best books we have read are sometimes those without the spotlight. So I think the solution to this reason is there to be a lot more spotlight on diverse books as a whole in the book community. We are making waves, but there is still a lot we can do.

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What do you think? I hope my points don’t sound too contradicting! So yes I want diverse books to be hyped up a bit more, but I don’t want the the diverse point to overpower the bigger plot of the story?

Do you read diverse books? If so where do you hear about them? If not, why? Be sure to comment below and lets talk!

-Astra

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24 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Read Diverse Books

  1. Lauren Busser says:

    Your points remind me of Gabriel Iglesias. He’s a Latino comedian who was getting branded that way when he first started out and he had a problem with it because no one else has a modifier next to their name.

    Like

  2. andthepursuitoffeminism says:

    Interesting post! A couple things I’d like to question/respond to:

    1.You say that you “don’t want a book shoving all of these different cultures, sexualities, races and the rest just to have the tag ‘diverse book’” What, to do, encompasses a book ‘shoving’? Do you think the same argument could be made for non-divserse characteristics being “shoved” in marginalized people’s reading lives? (For example, “omg why is this character so STRAIGHT!”)

    2. You also mention: “Just knowing a character is different from the conventional is good enough.” I’d argue that saying a character is black or saying he or she is gay isn’t enough. Because marginalized people’s experiences vary so greatly, these experiences should be elaborated on. “Writing the Other” is a great book that discusses this.

    3. Interestingly enough, I find that YA books often get the “diverse” tag more than adult books. Ie. It’s hard for me to find queer characters in adult book lists–YA novels, however, have many lists! Of many great queer characters! So I wonder where this phenomenon comes from.

    Liked by 3 people

    • A Stranger's Guide to Novels says:

      I guess I wasn’t so clear hahaha!
      1)When I mean shoved in our faces I mean I don’t want to be repeatedly told a character is gay as that realisation from the protagonist would never happen in real life. I would rather prefer a gay person to be casually with his or hers partner and let that be seen as a naturally thing rather than spotlighting it so heavily.
      2) If the main character is one from a background considered diverse then of course I would welcome a differing POV then one we would typically get. But if the character is just side character again I wouldn’t want the character to be shown in an exaggerated LOOK IM HERE way, just more subtle and realistic.
      3) I find that the case too! I don’t really know why that is the case, but it is interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Magini - books says:

    I pretty much don’t care how the book is categorized or whatever the characters gender, religion, orientation, etc is. If the book’s well written, story interesting and characters are well portrayed then I’ll find the book good no matter if it’s a “diverse” read or not. Call me ignorant, but I’m more into good stories rather than searching hard for diversity.
    Yes, I like when stories have different than EU or US setting, but it’s just because I’m curious about the world.
    Plus I mostly read fantasy… these books should have diversity in shapes of various races, magic and non-magic users, strange lands or maybe even planets. After all, it’s all in authors imagination 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • A Stranger's Guide to Novels says:

      I would rather read an amazing, developed story which hasn’t got a lot of diversity than a diverse story with flat characters and a flat plot. I totally understand were you are coming from when you say you don’t care if a book is diverse or not, I guess I just want to see more diverse characters and such that I’m almost making my reading enjoyment suffer over it. This is why I want more great books with diversity incorporated into them.
      That’s why I love fantasy books!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. j.belk says:

    Oooo, I totally agree with that first point. If I’m reminded more than once, on every single page of the book, what gender or sexuality or religion someone is, it’s gets really repetitive and honestly pretty annoying. It’s like the author is trying too hard to say, “hey, this book is about someone ‘different’! But I have to keep reminding you for some odd reason”. I think I had this problem with a book a really long time ago, and since then when someone brings up a ‘diverse’ book, I take two precautions before I decide to pick it up. I don’t have anything against the diverse community, in fact, like you, I support everything that they do and spread awareness of. But again, I don’t want to be reminded constantly that a character is gay, or straight, or anything of that sort. And it takes a disciplined and creative writer to NOT do that, lol. Wonderful post, Astra! 😀 (sorry I went on a little rant, lol)

    -Jess @jbelkbooks

    Liked by 1 person

  5. andthepursuitoffeminism says:

    I think it’s important to remember what privileges we have when we have this conversation. I, as a white bisexual woman, am not constantly reminded that I am white in society. However, I am reminded that I’m a woman and that I’m not straight. Being able to say “I don’t read diverse books” means that we are privileged enough to have our own identities represented in what we read. People of color, however, may seek diverse literature because they don’t see themselves represented enough, and cannot relate to all experiences of white people.

    For myself, I didn’t realize I was bisexual until I was much older, partially because bisexual people were invisible: they didn’t appear in movies I saw, books I read, or media I consumed. I now seek bisexual media in order to empathize with those characters and see myself reflected in that media. Representation matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A Stranger's Guide to Novels says:

      I think my point of my post was to just showcase why I don’t find that most of the books that I read are not necessarily diverse ones. I am always open to reading books from different perspective and enjoy learning new things from those diverse books. I never said representation didn’t matter but what does matter is the way the way the people from diverse backgrounds are portrayed in the books we read. Sometimes heavily spotlighting these individuals might make them come across different when in reality they are normal like everyone else, they just need to be recognised a little be more.

      Like

  6. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I do agree with the points you posted here. I haven’t read many diverse books, although I have read books with LGBT characters when they wasn’t the sole aspect of the story (I really hope this makes sense) but I understand what you mean about authors having the characters a little in your face to get the point across. In real life that doesn’t happen, a person won’t constantly reference their sexuality, and it’s nice when the introduction of diversity happens more organically. Plus I think some of the time authors will use the fact that there is diverse/LGBT characters to carry the story, and all it results in is a plot which doesn’t end up being as strong. It’s great having diverse characters but there needs to be a good story there as well.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A Stranger's Guide to Novels says:

      Don’t worry, that makes sense! I have read my LGBT books where the LGBT aspect isn’t the main aspect. Exactly! I get it if it’s a story talking about how people may perceive a characters sexuality or about coming out then okay, but if the story isn’t about that and you want a LGBT character then stop mentioning how different they are. You are absolutely right!
      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        Always good when that happens. It’s nice to have characters where their sexuality isn’t their defining trait, because that’s obviously not how it is in real life. I mean, don’t get me wrong it’s great to have diverse characters but it’s even better when they’re actual characters rather than cardboard cutouts to just add some diversity into a story!

        Like

  7. shelfiepodcast says:

    I want to read diverse books. I want to see characters of different races, religions, and sexuality portrayed in honest and respectful ways. I don’t want the entire point of a character to be what makes them diverse, though. I want them to feel like real people. It’s not that I don’t want it shoved down my throat, it’s that I want the character to be more. Does that make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Zezee says:

    I think I get what you mean there: you want to read books you feel like reading and don’t want to read a “diverse” book just to say you have and you certainly don’t want to read one that includes “diverse” characters just for the sake of having them. If so, I agree with you there. I prefer not to force myself to read things and I really don’t like it when it seems that a character is cut and pasted into a story and the fact that they’re a marginalized character because all that they’re about.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. transhaan says:

    Great point and I definitely feel you. The story should stand out for what it brings to the table, and shouldn’t be seeking the ”I’m a diverse book” status. It should simply be a great book, diverse or not. The characters should be built and developed in a discrete fashion without making sure to have neon lights on all the ”diverse” part of them. Very interesting post! 😉

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Michelle says:

    Totally agree! I want to know that the character is diverse when first being introduced to me, but I definitely don’t want to be reminded of the fact on every second page! Great post 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  11. MyBookJacket says:

    I don’t necessarily read diverse books as in I don’t go looking for them. If I hear a book is good I read it. That’s all. And I understand what you mean by diversity being shoved in my face. I want to hear about a good book irrespective of who has written it. Not about an average book just because a diverse author has written it. Instead of highlighting the author/character’s diversity let us highlight how awesome the book is so people can grab it. That being said I read a lot of world books and translated books so I suppose I’ve been reading diverse books all along. I like variety in my writing. 🙂 loved this post Astra.

    Like

  12. Lois says:

    I definitely agree with the points you’ve made. I am a huge advocate for diversity in books but, like you, I don’t want it shoved in my face. The fact of the matter is we live in a multi-cultural world where people from different backgrounds and cultures interact with one another every day. I feel like the integration and recognition of our multi-cultural society is just as important so that we don’t still look at certain ethnicity’s and cultures as a separate entity. 😀

    Like

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