Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Diversity in Reading Meme

This is depressing. I'd somehow convinced myself that my reading was quite diverse this year--books written by New Zealanders! Germans! books set in Australia! Korea! Krishnapur! parallel universes and Iceland!--but this meme exposes just how white bread my reading actually is.

1. Name the last book by a female author that you've read.

Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood. On Sunday.

2. Name the last book by an African or African-American author that you've read.

A Quiet Storm, Rachel Howzell Hall's story of a young woman dealing with her bi-polar sister in California, is the most recent. Before that, Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam by Rhodesian Lauren Liebenberg, which probably ought not to count since she's white, and Half of a Yellow Sun by Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. And Obama's memoir. All last year.

3. Name one from a Latino/a author.

I have a copy of 2666 on hand, but of course I haven't read it. I read Cristina Garcia's
Dreaming in Cuban with the Slaves last spring.

4. How about one from an Asian country or Asian-American?

This is where it really gets shameful. If I count Kazuo Ishiguro, I still have to go back to 2005--further than that to find a Gish Jen or an Amy Tan.

5. What about a GLBT writer?

Jeanette Winterson's Sexing the Cherry in January and Peter Cameron's Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You last summer.

6. Why not name an Israeli/Arab/Turk/Persian writer, if you're feeling lucky?

Orhan Pamuk's Snow in 2004, but I bought Elif Shafak's The Flea Palace a couple weeks back.

7. Any other "marginalized" authors you've read lately?

Afraid not.

(via Reading the Leaves)


  1. Good for you for posting this. I wonder how I would do. I like to think I'm an ecletic reading, but I don't know.

  2. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I'd fare much better. Time to start adding to my list!

  3. I did this one and did okay, but only because so many of the questions were about the part of the world I read a lot about. If Africa had been divided up like Asia was, then I would have been pretty bland.

  4. I'll have to try this...

  5. I always think I'm reading all over the place and then I see memes like this and it's a reminder that maybe I do need to venture out more from my reading comfort zone. Loved the meme and I think I may have to steal this one!

  6. I tried this and did terrible. And I thought I was being good this year by reading more in translation than normal!

  7. The rural poor here in Appalachia are pretty marginalized, and becoming more so every day -- I'm sure you've read some regional authors who would qualify as "marginalized."

    I don't know: Since Obama, I'm starting to think about diversity in an entirely different way. Are we as a society heading towards the post-racial? I sincerely hope so.

  8. That's true. I don't know that I've read any of them lately, though.

    I could give you the url to the message board in my hometown that would squelch the idea that the hill folk are going to become post-racial any time soon. They're terrribly upset that Linda Rondstat and her band dared sing in Spanish at Merlefest on Sunday. Obama makes them foam at the mouth.


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