Let’s Talk Bookish: What is the meaning of diverse books?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on October 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us about:

what is the meaning of diverse books?

(SUGGESTED BY RUKKY)
Examples: We talk a lot about diverse books and reads, but what really makes a book diverse? Are books written by authors or about characters from Eastern Europe (Lithuania, Ukraine, Hungary, etc) considered diverse? Would you consider a book set in Spain about a Spanish main character diverse? Why or why not? Does diverse mean characters or authors from South America, Asia, and Africa, or from different religious, sexual, ability, etc backgrounds only?

This is a great question and very relevant topic as more readers continue to look for diverse books, and as more diverse books also get published. I’ve been trying to consciously diversify my reads for a while now and 2020 has been my most successful year doing that! I’m a little intimidated about answering this week’s prompt because I think there are quite a few layers to the topic, and I don’t feel comfortable going too in-depth as I’m not that “knowledgeable” about it. But this post is about sharing my thoughts, so I will do that and hopefully I make some sense and don’t come off as (too) uniformed or ridiculous!

defining diversity

Diversity (noun)
: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : VARIETY
especially : the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.

: an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities

Diversity as defined by Merriam-Webster

HOW DO I CLASSIFY DIVERSE BOOKS?

When I think about diverse books, I immediately think of stories with characters who are marginalized, BIPOC, and/or LGBTQ+. Or are written by authors of colour or LGBTQ+. I also count books that have representation for different religions, ethnicities, mental health, disability, and chronic illness (among other topics) as diverse too. However, I only classify books as diverse when:

  • The main characters are BIPOC/LGBTQ+. I don’t consider it diverse when you have one or a few side characters that fall into these ‘categories’ but are barely represented. But I don’t consider stories written by authors of colour or LGBTQ+ authors as diverse if the story focuses on mainstream “straight and white” characters.
  • Same as above, the rep should concern or be focused on the main character(s) and is not used or identified as a minor sub-plot or anything like that.

is there a line and where do we draw it?

This prompt included a few guiding questions that really made me think whether I would classify certain reads as diverse. For example, if I read a book about Eastern Europe, is that considered diverse? I think if it’s set there and the story is about a straight white character, then no, I wouldn’t. But what if it’s about religion or ethnicity—would I consider it diverse then? I think I probably would because it includes people from different backgrounds. What about a book set in Spain with a Spanish cast—is that diverse? It made me think about a book I read earlier this year called Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova. It’s set during the Spanish inquisition period but in an alternate reality, and I considered it diverse because Cordova is AOC and the characters, including the MC, were diverse.

As I write this I realise that perhaps how I consider books diverse is pretty simplistic? But ultimately, I do think it’s subjective because I don’t believe diversity can be so neatly packaged into a box where it means exactly the same thing for everybody. There are many factors to consider, including our individual backgrounds and experiences, and it also depends on the book/author too.

Is it enough to consider a book diverse if it teaches you about different people, cultures, etc.? Is it enough to consider it diverse if it broadens your world view?

Sorry, I know I haven’t really answered anything in this post and it’s mostly just a bunch of brain blah and word vom that I’m not even sure makes any sense–but it has definitely got me thinking!

Now I’m really curious to know what you think. What makes a book diverse in your opinion? Do you think it’s a strict definition or do you think it’s subjective? I’m keen to know your thoughts if you’d like to share them with me!

Let’s Talk Bookish: The Care and Keeping of a TBR!

I know I’m posting a bit later than Friday, but better late than never? Maybe?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on October 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us about:

The care and keeping of a tbr

(SUGGESTED BY LYDIA @ LYDIA SCHOCH)
Examples: Do you maintain a TBR physically, online or both? How do you decide which books get to go on your TBR? Do you ever “prune” your TBR to remove old books, how do you decide who stays and who goes? How big is your TBR currently?

WELCOME TO TBR Mountain: LEVEL 1,165

But that gif is literally me maniacally laughing on top of TBR mountain because… My current TBR on Goodreads is currently at 1,165 books and I haven’t even counted my actual TBR.

*takes a second to pause*

👀 👀 👀

*by the way, if anyone wants to be friends on Goodreads you can find me HERE!*

WHERE DO I KEEP A TBR?

GOODREADS

So we already know I keep a TBR on Goodreads and that’s probably my most complete list. Although I first signed up for it in 2012, I only started using it properly in 2018. I did make my way onto the site now and again before then but I guess the majority of the books have been added more recently…

But let’s be clear here…

My Goodreads TBR is a combination of books that I own and books that I wish to own, so I definitely haven’t spent all the money to purchase 1K+ books. Trust, I’d be dead broke otherwise! But I still find this number on Goodreads astonishingly and embarrassingly large. You can say I have a very good relationship with the “Want to read” button. 😂

THE ACTUAL TBR (PHYSICAL + DIGITAL)

Of course, I also have my “actual” TBR with all the books I own (physically and digitally). But I don’t have a proper record of all these books so I don’t know how many still need to be read. It’s a lot easier to keep track of my physical TBR without any kind of file (most of the time) as I can see what’s on my shelves, but books on my digital TBR tend to disappear into the void until I remember them at random.

HOW DO I CHOOSE WHAT GOES ON MY TBR?

Seeing as my GR list is over 1,000 books, I guess you can say I’m not very discerning when it comes to adding to my TBR? 😂 Here’s how I usually decide:

  • I read the synopsis. If it sounds good or like something I’ll enjoy (which let’s be honest it usually does)
  • I check which of my friends have added it to their list (if any).
  • I then check if any of them have reviewed it, then I’ll quickly skim through a review or two.
  • If no one I know has read/reviewed it, I’ll skim through the first few ratings and reviews to decide whether it’s a go or not.

It’s not an overly complicated process. My taste in books is quite eclectic and it doesn’t take much to pique my interest. Although I do mostly read YA SFF and contemporary romance, I don’t limit myself to any particular genre. A lot of people do stick to their tried and true/comfort zone genres (and that’s cool) but I quite like bouncing around because who knows where I’ll find my next favourite, right?!

going ‘down the tbr hole’

If you can believe it (which you probably can) my GR TBR last year was actually bigger than it is now. When I felt desperately in need of a way to motivate myself to cull the list, I decided to do the “Down the TBR Hole” meme on a weekly basis. For this meme, I’d look at 10-20 books on my TBR and kick off anything that didn’t sound appealing anymore or books that might still sound interesting but I know I’ll never actually buy a copy of or read anytime soon.

I admittedly struggled to kick anything off the list at first but I know realistically I won’t be able to buy all of the books, especially with even more releases piquing my interest with every year that passes. I was doing a pretty good job of shortening the TBR and managed to kick off about 250+ books (maybe even more) until I stopped doing it because I was too busy doing other things… 😬

I rally think I’ll take time to sit down at the end of 2020 (or maybe in 2021) to do a proper clean up because I know there are plenty on this list that I can get rid of, I just really need to make time to do it! My TBR feels more than a little disorganised and I definitely want to take better control of it moving forward!

How do you manage your TBR? Do you find it easy to cull books from your list? Do you get rid of physical books you don’t want to read? What do you do with the digital books you own and are no longer interested in? Curious to see how everyone manages theirs!

Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

I wasn’t tagged to do this post so of course I’m going to be doing it before all the ones I’m actually tagged in! 🙃 I saw Kirsty @ Caffeinated Fae post this on her blog today and it looked like a fun and short tag to do and since my mind is clearly not gunning for the “heavier” stuff right now I thought why not do it!? So here I am and here we go…

What do you like about buying new books?

Does “everything” count as an answer? Well, except for parting with my money… 💸 But no really, I love the new book smell, I love adding an anticipated read to my shelves, I love discovering a new book that I’ve never heard of before. I love walking out of the story with new worlds full of delicious possibilities waiting to be discovered!

Continue reading “Anonymous Bookaholics Tag”

Friday Favorites: Hyped Books!

It’s time for another Friday Favorites hosted by Kibby @ Something of the Book! This weekly meme is where you get to share a list of all your favourites based on the list of prompts on Kibby’s page. Sounds fun, right? This week’s prompt is: favorite hyped books! Oh, the hype. It’s something that all of us are familiar with and all have different reactions to, right?

Some readers feel FOMO and immediately race out to buy whatever book is currently all over the gram. Some wait a little while for the hype to die down before caving and reading the book. Others stay as far away from hyped books as possible and sometimes never pick them up until the hype is completely dead and years have passed, if ever. I’m pretty much a mix of all of these reactions — sometimes I can’t stand the FOMO and race out to get the book ASAP, but most of the time I wait until the hype dies down a little before I cave. To be honest though, most times when I get the book as soon as it comes out, I usually let it linger on my shelf (unintentionally!) and next thing you know, the next hyped book is out, that ‘old-new’ book stays untouched, and the cycle continues 😂 There are SO MANY HYPED BOOKS coming out all the time, I feel like I can never keep up, and so (mostly) I don’t. Pretty much all of the books mentioned below have already made countless repeat appearances on my blog (sorry I’m boring!) so it’s no surprise that they’re coming back again as my favorites!

With such a long introduction, I’m going to keep this short and sweet by sticking with sharing the book covers. These are just 20 of the most hyped books that I could think of (lies, they’re the books that are already in my media gallery but all of them are hyped)!

Do you recognize all of these hyped books? Would any of them make your list of favorite hyped reads or am I the only one who loves them?