Conversation #1: Diverse Books I'm Drawn To

15:59 Cilla P 12 Comments

Conversations is a new meme created by Geraldine and Joan  to encourage more discussions in the book blogging community. Every fortnight, they post a question to respond to. I thought it would be fun and I'm looking forward to read everyone's response!

This week, the topic is: Are there any particular diverse books you read more and why?



I had this discussion with a friend a while ago! Recently I've found that I gravitate toward culturally diverse books, particularly characters that have Asian backgrounds and/or are immigrants. I like reading stories about people who are 'out of place' and must carve out a place where they belong in a strange new world.

Why? Coming from Indonesia and surrounded by people who come from different parts of South-East Asia, I want to read stories that reflect the cultures and people I know. I'm buddy-reading Crazy Rich Asians with Geraldine at the moment, and it makes me smile to read about the food and a way of speaking that I grew up with.

I love it when the stories are set outside of Europe or United States for a change, but I'm drawn more to stories of immigrants. I am an international student; I've had to fit in to a whole new culture. Many others are forced to leave their home in order to survive. It's not a rare story in the real world, and I want to see it in fiction too.

After all, as C.S. Lewis said, we read to know we're not alone.

Let's talk!
Do you gravitate toward a particular kind of diversity in books? Why?

12 comments:

  1. Interesting discussion. I love books that are set outside of the US. I live in the US, so I want to read about cultures and places that are different from what I’ve experienced in real life.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. That's one of the magic of books, I think; it lets you learn about places you've never seen. :D Thanks, AJ!

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  2. Personally, I read more books dealing with mental health, because I might have anxiety and my family has an history with autism.

    I totally get the need to read books to make you connect with your culture. Do you think there are enough books in English that involves characters with Asian backgrounds? Do you have recommendations for me? Because I would really like to know more about Asian culture in general since I'm French and that's not my area ;)

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    1. I'd love to read more books dealing with mental health too. Anxiety is so hard to deal with, but I'm rooting for you <3

      There are quite a number of books in English with Asian characters, actually! I've just finished Under a Painted Sky by Stacy Lee, and that features a Chinese-American girl. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan is written in English, though peppered with some Malay, Hokkien, and Mandarin phrases. :D I haven't read her books myself, but my mother is a big fan of Amy Tan, who writes about Asian-American families.

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  3. I LOVE that C.S. Lewis quote!
    That's a good point you make - we all deserve to read stories that we can relate to. I'd actually like to read about say an international student and acclimatising to a new culture. That could make a really interesting YA/NA novel...
    Anyway, I definitely agree! Cultural diversity in our reading is super important. For understanding ourselves, and for understanding others. Great post!

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    1. Me too! :D
      To be honest, I'm surprised no one has written about the international student experiences considering we're not that rare of a species anymore. Maybe I'll write it someday. :P
      Thanks for stopping by, Annika! <3

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  4. This is really interesting! I think I tend to gravitate towards books with LGBT+ characters, but I never really thought about it before. It's also a nice surprise when a book includes a Jewish character. I'm Jewish, and I've noticed that there's not as many resources about religiously diverse books, probably because religion is a really complicated subject. So usually, I don't go into a book with a Jewish character knowing about that aspect unless it's World War 2 historical fiction.

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    1. I don't think I've ever noticed a Jewish character unless it's a World War 2 historical fiction either, now that I think of it. You're right, people might shy away from writing religiously diverse books because it can be a delicate topic. It would be good to see someone does it well though!

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  5. Wow I keep hearing about the book Crazy Rich Asians! I really, really need to get my hands on it soon. I think when a book talks about something dear to you or something you experienced yourself then it makes it easier for us to relate to it. Thank you for joining Conversations and I'm looking forward to your next discussion! :D

    Joan @ Fiddler Blue

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    1. Haha, to be honest, Crazy Rich Asians isn't my favourite in terms of story-telling, but I enjoy the perspective it takes on Singaporean upper-class society. :D I look forward to the next round of Conversations!

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  6. I really love any type of diverse books, especially in the YA genre! I was just sent an ARC by Penguin Teens called Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee, author of Under a Painted Sky. You should check it out because it sounds like something you'd really like. It takes place in San Francisco, CA in 1906 and it's about a 15 year old girl named Mercy living in Chinatown who makes her way into the snooty school for wealthy white girls "Claire's School for Girls". Mercy manages to be headstrong in a sea of spoiled heiresses until April 18th when the historic San Francisco earthquake hits, destroying her home and school. I'm really looking forward to reading it because it sounds fascinating and I grew up near San Francisco so we learned a lot about the famous earthquake in school. Anyways, I read your post and thought I would share since I just received this book a few days ago :)

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    1. Oooh I will definitely look out for this book! I enjoyed Under a Painted Sky, so I'm keen to read another book of Stacey Lee's. Thanks for letting me know! :D

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Thanks for reading! It makes my day to hear your thoughts and I will respond asap. :)