2015/07/19

Bookish Reflections: Reading Diversely and Why I Think It's Important

There's been a lot of buzz this past year about the importance of reading diversely. This topic came up on my radar when some of my favourite booktubers did the Reading Diversely Tag, and I read a book a while back, Reading the World by Ann Morgan. This sparked a small passion in me.

All my life, I have mostly read Norwegian, British and American fiction. There is always the odd one out, the one out of fifty books that happen to have been translated from another language (usually a European one). And I can't help but think how much I'm missing out on.


So, I have been making an effort this past year to read more diversely, and I've found it fun, but challenging. Because I don't just want to read the mainstream diverse fiction, if you get my meaning? The challenge is to find the books that are less known. The more known books are of course always welcome. I recently read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who is a Nigerian author, and holy smokes, was I blown away.

There is of course value to reading the more mainstream of translated fiction, but to spread the love for these lesser known books, someone has to read them. It's not really reading diversely if everyone is reading the same stuff, is it?

Now, the reason I personally want to read more diverse fiction is because there is so much to learn from reading. Reading about other cultures, religions, race, gender, identity, is a wonderful way to broaden the horizon of your own mind and your own understanding. And I think this is very, very important (I think we can all agree the world would be a better place if everyone had more of an open mind and we were more understanding of one another).


So, I'm asking for a bit of help: do you have any recommendations for diverse books? I'm very interested in reading books from authors from South-America, Asia and Africa, or set anywhere outside Europe and North-America (though, of course, if you have something amazing from these places, shoot it my way).

Also, what are your views on reading diversely?

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6 comments

  1. I think 'reading diversely' is a really great idea, although it isn't easy because English and American literature indeed rule the world of literature in Europe nowadays ... I would like, however, to make a small remark on this blog post. I think it's great that you would like to read more non-European and non-American literature, but we would almost forget that Europe has far more to offer than literature from our native country and England. There is an organisation in the Netherlands that is entirely devoted to promoting European literature that has not yet been translated into Dutch to Dutch publishes in order to get them translated and published. This system works really well and although the public is still a bit hesitant to pick up a book by an author who's surname they can't pronounce, it's getting more and more attention. They have an English website as well, so you could check them out an see their top ten new translated books of this year (http://en.schwob-books.eu/2014-11-04/10-rediscoveries-for-this-winter) - they're translated into Dutch, but I think most of them have been translated into English as well. I guess what I wanted to say was that there are also very good Italian, Spanish, French, Czeck, Polish, Romanian and Greek novels that differ from what we're used to read ... I still have to get into reading non-English/American/Dutch literature more, so this is a reminder for myself as well ;-) Oh, and by the way: I would love it if you could recommend us some Norwegian authors!

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    1. You're completely right! It's important to read translated books from Europe too, there's so much we're missing out on!

      I will definitely check out the website, thanks so much for sharing it. It's so important to get books translated. Do you have any Dutch books translated to English that you'd recommend by the way?

      I will definitely make a separate post on Norwegians authors people need to check out! I've already jotted down a few, so it will be coming very soon :D

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    2. O, lovely! Looking forward to that post then! Maybe I'll write one as well, because The Netherlands have some great books and authors to offer as well. Hella Haasse is one of my favorites, by the way, and I believe quite a few of her books have been translated. She is considered the queen of historical fiction over here! Tea Lords is very good and In Dark Wood Wandering and The Scarlet City are two other best known works by her. But I'll think about some other authors and put together a post as well ;-)!

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    3. Awesome! I will definitely check Haasse out, and can't wait to see your list of Dutch authors :D

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  2. This is a great post -- and one I think I needed to read. I've been making a real effort to read more diverse books lately, but this post made me realize that I neglect diverse authors. If I had to guess, I would say AT LEAST 90% of the books I read are written by authors from the United States. This is something I'll have to take a look at and try to change!

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    1. You're definitely not alone on that front! :) It's good to try other stuff though :D

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