Diversiverse, hosted by Booklust, is scheduled for October 4th through the 17th. It only requires that you read a single book by a POC writer and post about it during the event.
If you don’t have a book in mind, here are some of my favourites; one of them might intrigue you. (And, then, below, I imagine that Diversiverse lasts two months, not two weeks, and I make reading lists of the many possibilities that appeal to me right now, today, knowing that I will probably choose something else entirely!)
Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye
Virginia Hamilton’s M.C. Higgins, the Great
Suzette Mayr’s Moon Honey
Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate
These are slim works, which can be read in an afternoon. Toni Morrison’s is a painfully beautiful coming-of-age. Virginia Hamilton’s is a strangely inspiring children’s classic. Suzette Mayr’s story of a young woman is bizarre and entertaining. Laura Esquivel’s is a warm and sensual tale, complete with recipes.
Alice Walker’s The Color Purple
Octavia E. Butler’s Fledgling
Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring
Thomas King’s Green Grass Running Water
Dionne Brand’s What We All Long For
Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance
Rabindranath Maharaj’s The Amazing Absorbing Boy
These will take you a little more time, perhaps a long afternoon. (A few afternoons for Rohinton Mistry maybe, but it reads much faster than its page count would suggest.) An epistolary novel, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple can be read over and over and still satisfy. Octavia Butler’s is suitably disturbing and compelling. Nalo Hopkinson’s debut is entertaining speculative fiction. Thomas King’s classic is laugh-out-loud funny and cover-your-mouth sad: perfect. Dionne Brand’s novel is character-driven and a love letter to Toronto. Rohinton Mistry’s doorstopper is a real pageturner. Rabindranath Maharaj’s novel is, well, completely absorbing and a charming coming-of-age tale.
Pasha Malla’s People Park
Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony
Larissa Lai’s When Fox Is a Thousand
These three require a little more attention. Pasha Malla yanks readers out of the present-day and disorients them just long enough to tell a good story set in an alternative Montreal. Wayson Choy’s debut is lyrical and touching, the crafting as remarkable as the story. And Larissa Lai is a fantastic storyteller, who engages your imagination throughout.
Possibilities for a CanLit Reading List:
Jen Sookfong Lee’s The End of East
Rabindranath Maharaj’s The Lagahoo’s Apprentice, Homer in Flight and A Perfect Pledge
Austin Clarke’s The Meeting Point
Esi Edugyan’s The Second Life of Samuel Tyne
Shashi Bhat’s The Family Took Shape
Lawrence Hill’s Any Known Blood
Corinna Chong’s Belinda’s Rings
Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Cafe
Randy Boyagoda’s Beggar’s Feast
Rohinton Mistry’s Family Matters
As you can tell, before I even got through half the shelves, I already had a stack of CanLit unreasonably large from which to choose. Some of these are by MRE Authors and others are debut novels.
Possibilities for a World Reading List:
Alice Walker’s The Temple of My Familiar and Meridian
Isabel Allende’s Daughter of Fortune
Chinua Achebe’s No Longer At East
Bessie Head’s A Question of Power
Mayse Condé’s I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem
Gloria Naylor’s The Men of Brewster Place
Ernesto Quiñonez’s Bodega Dreams
Bernardine Evaristo’s Blonde Roots
Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and others
Helen Oyeyemi’s White is for Witching
Louise Erdrich’s Tracks
Gish Jen’s Who’s Irish?
Zadie Smith’s On Beauty
Some of these (like Zadie Smith’s novel) have been on my shelves for ages (and I HAD to have it in hardcover too) but others are more recent additions (like Chinua Achebe’s novel, as I just read his classic Things Fall Apart earlier this year).
The thing about making lists like this is that they are great for generating more enthusiasm — immediately all I want to do is sit down and read ALL THE BOOKS right now — but it’s also very much about my mood in the moment.
I have a sneaking suspicion that I will end up choosing something I haven’t even pulled off the shelves today.
What about you? (Sign-ups are here, if you haven’t yet joined.)