Sunday, 26 April 2009

Diversity in Reading Meme


I borrowed this meme from Danielle and thought it would be interesting to complete. I don't have a "comfort zone" when it comes to reading; I read for the pleasure of reading and, consequently, the books I pick up can be wide and far-reaching.

Name the last book by a female author that you've read.
The last book I read (finished yesterday): Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie. Funnily enough, a shortlisted title from the only all-female literature prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Name the last book by an African or African-American author that you've read.
James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room in January and immediately preceding that, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

Name one from a Latino/a author.
Love in the Time of Cholera in February.

How about one from an Asian country or Asian-American?
Burnt Shadows can also be categorised here.

What about a GLBT writer?
Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith, this month.

Why not name an Israeli/Arab/Turk/Persian writer, if you're feeling lucky?
Egyptian: The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif in January. Prior to that that, last year I read The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak (Turkish); The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani (Persian); Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (also Persian) and The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. As I said, I can be a versatile reader although patterns in my reading at a particular time can often be traced.

Any other "marginalized" authors you've read lately?
Hmmm, I don't regard any of my recent reads (including the ones above) as "marginalized". I've read a lot of English writers recently, a lot of women writers, a number of classics and of translated work, Russian and French. If I was on my soapbox then I would suggest that Ali Smith is also marginalised because she is a Scottish novelist (who lives in England) but I'm not, so I won't.

Answering some of these questions makes me feel uncomfortable and even guilty. I don't read "marginalized" writers because they are marginalised or because I think I have to; I read these books because I want to, because there is something about the book that interests me and/or excites me and I often discover a great book, a great writer, and, yes, sometimes a rich, marginalised category of literature.

2 comments:

Nymeth said...

I agree, I read books that fit these categories because I want to, not because I feel that I have to. But I find that it can be useful to make a deliberate effort to seek them out, especially since many of these authors get less exposure.

I have Giovanni's Room on my tbr pile. Will have to get to it soon! It sounds so good.

Paperback Reader said...

I agree. I am always challenging myself when it comes to reading and want to try new things so focusing on diversity in reading will help.

Giovanni's Room is tragic and beautifully written.