Diversity plays a huge role in today’s pop culture. But, diversity in books seems to always pop up as a very controversial subject. I’m pretty sure that we can all agree that it is great that authors are finally starting to realize that we NEED diverse books. But, it seems that every diverse book that is published these days falls into one of two categories: good representation or bad representation. So, today I decided that I needed to finally get my thoughts out to the world about diversity in books!
I think that it is great! Truly, if anyone thinks that diversity is bad… they might want to think again. It has been so amazing to see authors start to incorporate more diverse characters in their novels. YA contemporaries have outdone the book community with diversity. Literally, if you ever walk into the YA contemporary section of a bookstore, you are bound to find a bunch of diverse reads!
But, unlike contemporary, fantasy isn’t staying up to date with being diverse. It isn’t too often that you find a diverse fantasy book. And when you do, it either has good or bad representation. But, I will say that I have seen some authors do an AMAZING job at incorporating diversity to a fantasy novel.
Why is diversity so good in books? I really don’t think that movies do diversity justice. In today’s society, we see a lot more diverse books, than we do with movies. I may be totally wrong with that, but that is usually what I have seen in the past. But, I feel like it is 10x easier to relate to a book character than it is to relate to a movie character. We get descriptions that help us imagine the characters better and dialogue that helps us understand how they are feeling. Sometimes, you need that extra confidence boost and a book character is like your sidekick! (Okay, maybe not… but you get what I mean)
What does it mean for a book to be diverse? I’ve struggled with this question for so long now, but I believe that a diverse book has to include a person of colour, someone who identifies as LGBTQ+, someone who has a mental illness, and/or someone with a disability. I might be slightly off on that, but that has been what I have collected from my share of diverse books. If there are any other “general qualifications” for a book to be diverse, definitely let me know in the comments.
Here are a few diverse book recommendations:
Both of these books represented diversity very well! One being a fantasy and one being a contemporary, both in the YA category. Six of Crows features a disabled character, a gay couple (Jylan? or Wesper?). I haven’t read Crooked Kingdom yet, but I heard Leigh Bardugo talk about them together. We also have two characters of colour! Weird Girl and What’s His Name is more of an unknown book, but it definitely has diversity in it! Another book with a gay couple. I definitely recommend you check out both books if you haven’t already.
Now, onto the negative parts of diversity: the controversy: As I’ve mentioned a few times in this post, there are some books that fall under the “bad” representation category. But there are also books the people can’t decided which category that they should fall in. For me, that’s all of Sarah J. Maas’ books. The book community is always complaining about how problematic her books are, and I still cannot agree with it. Sarah J. Maas spends months writing stories and when they get published, they usually get a mix of “wow” and “this is so problematic.” Some people may not enjoy her books, and others like me will.
I also find that people are constantly complaining about the lack of diversity in books. Does anyone else find that or is it just me? It’s as if we can never have a cast of white, heterosexual characters without someone asking: “where’s the diversity?” I can see why, but I don’t think it is necessary for every author to write diverse books. Maybe some authors aren’t comfortable with it.
That is all for today’s posts. I hope that I wasn’t overly rude with my thoughts. I’ve just had the idea for this post in my head for a while now, and I thought that it was finally time to write it all out. Do any of you share the same thoughts with me? Or maybe even different thoughts. Be sure to leave a comment down below sharing your thoughts on diversity. Don’t forget to like, and follow to stay up to date with all of my future posts!