May 24, 2020

Discussion: How do you Diversify your Reading?

Hello, everyone! First of all, I want to thank you all for taking part in the discussion of the previous week. I was really glad that you submitted your favourite genres in the form. I even learnt a new sub-genre that I had never heard before. Before digging into today's topic though, I would like to reveal the result of the form (of course, I will keep it active and take a look at the results from time to time). I have to admit that this form was rather revealing to me and I felt that I got to know you a little bit better.

What's Your Favourite Book Genre?

This was the question I asked you last week. The majority of you answered that their favourite genre is Fantasy. This came as no surprise. However, I expected that it would go hand in hand with Science Fiction. Sci-Fi ended up sharing the third spot with Detective and Mystery, while Romance took up the second place. The order of the rest is of no importance and I won't get into details. But, I have to mention my surprise that Horror was actually in the last place along with Non-Fiction. I knew that Non-Fiction is not everybody's cup of tea, but I expected that Horror would end up somewhere in the middle. 

In the Other option, some of you have written three more genres: Mythology, Afterlife, and Young Adult. The first two are specific sub-genres of the Paranormal (which I had forgotten to include). However, I fund the case of Young Adult very interesting. You see, I never counted Young Adult as a genre. It's more of a big umbrella that includes books from all the genres. Rather than calling The Hunger Games a Young Adult Fantasy, I would simply call it Fantasy. But, hey, maybe that's just my own notions. What do you think? Is Young Adult a distinct genre? This article from The Guardian is great on the matter. 

With that being said, it's time to move to today's topic.

How do You Diversify your Reading?

This question is closely related to the previous week's topic. If you think about it, we talked about how our favourite genres construct our comfort zones and how difficult it is to break through from this safe and familiar place. A similar thing happens when you try to diversify your reading. This might be reading books from different genres, from different cultures, from writers with diverse backgrounds, and protagonists that represent minorities. These stories open up our minds and we become familiar with things outside of our little worlds. Indeed, diverse books cultivate our empathy. 

Nevertheless, this endeavour is not an easy one. How can you manage to diversify your reading? 

First of all, a simple tactic is to read different genres. This might not bring the most impressive results, compared to other methods I'm going to discuss later, but it is a good start. You see, different genres require different protagonists with different backgrounds. I don't know if Young Adult is a genre (as I've already told you), but I strongly believe that in these books you will find diverse characters. Books like The Hate U Give, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and The Art of Being Normal, are all books with a representation of the black and LGBTQ+ community. If you are looking for more recommendations on diverse Young Adult books, take a look at this list from Frolic Media.

The second method requires a bit more commitment. If you are trying to find a way to diversify your reading, then all you have to do is challenge yourself. You can find plenty of challenges and readathons with diverse themes. A reading challenge might be a bit more long-term, so it might be easier to manage. This way, you will have a small push to read more diversely. So, the next time you see an LGBTQ+ readathon, don't dismiss it as too difficult. 

On my blog, every year I post the same reading challenge. It's not anything special, but I try to promote diverse reading. In this challenge, I am focusing more on discovering new cultures. So, the majority of the challenge asks you to read books from different regions. For me, it is easy every year to complete the books from Europe, North America, and East Asia (I have already filled those spots for this year). However, when it comes to the Middle East, Oceania, Africa, and even South America, I am always at a loss. But in previous years, I actively went out of my way to discover and buy books from those regions. 

Do you mostly read books written by women or men? This is a question that troubles me a lot. At times, I look back at the book I've read and find that they had been mostly man-dominated. In these instances, I try to read more books by women. Let's do an experiment: Remember the last 10 books you've read: how many were written by women? For me, it's 4 books by women and 6 by men. So, during the summer I will try to bring balance to my reading. It is essential to get every perspective you can.

But, what happens if you lack the discipline to read diverse books? In this case, you need extra motivation. I don't know if this is something easily achieved though. Maybe joining a book club where they read diverse books will give you the incentive to diversify your reading. In any case, the road for this is bumpy, but in the end, the result is rewarding.

This was it for today! How do you diversify your reading? According to you, is there a particular community that lacks representation in literature?


  1. Admittedly, I don't think I look at how diverse the books that I read are. It is something that I should definitely work on, as I tend to go for books that are often set in North America. I think it would be awesome if I could expand to reading books set in other countries.

    This being said, I do read mostly from women authors and do try to do this deliberately, especially when a book contains a female main character. I think sometimes male authors do not fully get what it's like to be a female, and so I think it is important to read from female authors to get that authenticity.

    1. There are so many ways to diversify your reading! For my part, I found that reading challenges have helped me. Reading books from different countries was never a problem, as I am Greek, reading many books by American and English authors, and having a fascination with Japanese literature. But I do need to work on my reading more books by female authors, and maybe books that deal with mental health.

  2. I also don't diversify on purpose, but when something outside my regular genres interest me, I'll read it. Mind you, I don't really read YA or NA or Middle Grade or Children's books.

    1. Reading outside of your regular genre is a way to diversify your reading! An easy way to diversify your reading is by getting books of your favourite genre from different countries :)

  3. Guilty! It's not like I actively search for books that would diversify my reading, except maybe for queer books, that have always interested me from an ally's perspective. What I usually do is find a book with a blurb that lures me in, research it to death through reviews, and then add it to my TBR list if they cement my interest. Since all my books are bought ones (except those rare ARCs I get via NetGalley or elsewhere), I can't very well take a gamble on a book that doesn't sound up my alley just for the sake of reading diversely...then again, as I said, I feel guilty...

    1. Yes, it's not easy to actively go out of your way to find diverse books. However, you can still try to find book of your favourite genre BUT written by writers from all around the world.


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