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The Resolution: review one book per month

The Background: I am going on trip to New Zealand imminently, and rather than pack many many hardcopy books, I am stocking up my kindle with things I want to read. I asked my friends on some social media for genre recommendations, noting that I had a particular interest in diversity, namely race or gender.

The Realisation: The majority of recommendations came in and were mostly for books written by middle-aged white men (or women). I realised that amongst the people who responded, I probably read more diversely than many of them (or at the very least recommend more diversely).

The Resolution: to do a series of posts/reviews over the year for books that fit my very broad criteria. I plan to be relatively realistic, given time and energy, and write one per month. If there are books you'd like me to recommend or there's something you'd find useful for me to consider in a review, do let me know.

My criteria for a book to review currently is:

  1. is not written by a white male;
  2. has a protagonist that either is a person of colour or is non-heteronormative or is disabled or is part of a minority that I have not specifically named here;
  3. preferably not by a really well-known author;
  4. ideally was published within the last three years; and
  5. only one book per author per calendar year.

I recognise that this is very broad but I want to be inclusive rather than exclusive. In practice this means I will probably not review Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan or Sharing Knife series, nor anything by Octavia Butler (although both are excellent authors whom I enjoy reading and whose books fit the criteria above) but instead plan to focus on authors like N.K. Jemison, Aliette de Boddard, Wesley Chu, Lauren Beukes, Nnedi Okorafor and others. Conveniently, N.K. Jemison and Aliette de Boddard both have books coming out later this year.

Just to note: I read and enjoy many books written by middle-aged white men and will continue to do so—but those books are not the point of this review series. Instead, I want to share some of the recent books with that focus on diversity I mentioned that I have read and enjoyed with others in the hope that you might also enjoy them.

Expect the first review shortly: Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor.

This entry was originally posted at http://nishatalitha.dreamwidth.org/255593.html. Please comment there using OpenID.



( 9 pages — Write a page )
Jan. 10th, 2015 11:53 pm (UTC)
Nnedi Okorafor is WONDERFUL and you have just reminded me to go check if more of her books are at the library yet, so thank you. :D

I think you may enjoy Sunny Moraine's Crowflight? It's the first in a trilogy (last one came out either this month or next) and there's some really interesting worldbuilding/mythology stuff going on in it, plus non gender-binary characters (who I understand are even more prominent in book 2 which I'm about to pick up.)
Jan. 11th, 2015 10:12 am (UTC)
Nnedi Okorafor is wonderful; I can't believe I ddin't know about her earlier! I've still only read Lagoon but am adding others to my to-read list.

I need to get borrowing e-books from my local library set up. Ideally, I want to read them on my kindle, but not sure if that will work.

I will check out Sunny Moraine. That sounds intriguing.
Jan. 11th, 2015 10:24 am (UTC)
Chris grabbed me a bunch of books a while back from the library but I haven't checked back in since. Akata Witch was my favourite of the ones I have read so far.

Also, I bet you could add in the local libraries here when you're back visiting as well; I've just started taking advantage of ebook borrowing recently and it's been awesome. Way more user friendly than I was expecting.

I must add that they're one of my good friends and have been for years, but Sunny is a fantastic writer (and has been getting great reviews from a lot of other people, too). They do giveaways for new books pretty often, too, so maybe poke around goodreads a bit? I'm currently hanging out for a standalone in their Line and Orbit universe which is going to focus on my favourite character from the first book.
Jan. 11th, 2015 11:27 am (UTC)
If you don't mind short story collections, you could try Breaking the Bow: Speculative Fiction Inspired by the Ramayana, ed. Vandana Singh and Anil Menon. I haven't read it, but I have read some of Singh's short story collection The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and Other Stories, which doesn't appear to be available on Kindle, alas.
Jan. 12th, 2015 09:46 pm (UTC)
I've no objection to short stories and will keep those in mind. I'd probably prerfer novels to review; might aim for only one or two short story collections? Definitely note them to read though.
Jan. 12th, 2015 07:47 am (UTC)
I had never heard of any of those authors, so you're going to be enlightening at least one person. :)

Looking at my (admittedly meagre) UK bookshelf, I own only one book by someone who isn't a white man - a book you can probably guess. It's a bit astonishing to realise, in fact.
Jan. 12th, 2015 09:49 pm (UTC)
Excellent. My work is done just begun.

I'm sure your NZ bookshelf is much better stocked. (Book three comes out this year; I could give you book two for your birthday if you haven't already read it.)
Jan. 12th, 2015 09:14 am (UTC)
I really liked the couple of books by N.K. Jemison I've read. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and its sequel.
Jan. 12th, 2015 09:58 pm (UTC)
N.K. Jemison's books are awesome and I am really looking forward to The Fifth Season later this year. I highly recommend her.
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