{diversity in lit} friday #08: (re)sources

girl on train

{Girl on the train/The Coma, 2003-4 by Nicholas Garland}

There are some brilliant blogs and challenges out there that provide lists, reviews, or linking hubs for reviews regarding Diversity in Literature. I am going to list & link a few resources every Friday, as well as ome reviews of div/lit fiction for the grown-up shelf as I encounter them through the week. If you posted a review or interview that should interest adult readers featuring an author or protagonist of the oft marginalized due to color, sexual orientation, sex/gender, ability, etc. since last Friday, please share in comments. Do feel free to share your favorite resources in comments, I will share them in future Friday posts.


–In my latest researching for persons/protagonists of color in Christian Fiction I found this blog Remain in His Love:  and hey, Embassie is hosting an Interview/Giveaway today! Meet author: Miranda A. Uyeh, a romance writer and learn about book one in her Child of Grace series.

Alison at Uncalibrated Centrifuge hosts two mini-reviews of Nikki Grimes novels. both are novels in verse and both reimagine Bible stories into a modern-day context:

girl named misterreview: Dark Sons (pub. orig. Jump at the Sun 2005 | Zondervan 2010). “I enjoyed the adaptation of Ishmael’s story and Sam’s story equally. I liked the parallels Grimes draws between the two boys. Grimes even made me pull out my Bible in the middle of reading Ishmael’s story because I had forgotten a lot of the details and that was bugging me. However, I think anyone can enjoy this book even if they’re not familiar with the story of Ishmael.”–Alison

review: A Girl Named Mister (Zondervan 2010) “I didn’t like the premise of Mister’s story (girl has sex once and immediately regrets it, sex has terrible consequences, etc). But once I accepted that was the story I was reading, it wasn’t a bad book. I enjoyed the looks into Mary’s life. Rather than setting up the stories as directly parallel, Mary’s story is told through a book that Mister reads. Grimes greatly expands Mary’s story and inner thoughts but remains true to the story of Jesus’s birth as told in Luke 2.”–Alison

–Alison also reviews Control by Lydia Kang (book one; Dial 2013). “A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.”–publisher’s comments.

Skip Control unless you absolutely love dystopian-esque (it’s more dystopian lite with a dash of sci-fi) YA fiction. Even if you do love that flavor of YA books, maybe try Legend by Marie Lu instead.” You should check out this review for further explanation as to why she could just not get behind this book.

when rain–Jackie of Farm Lane Books reviews the classic African novel When Rain Clouds Gather by Bessie Head (1st publ. 1968 | read Virago Press edition 2010). “The book follows Makehaya, a South African convict who escapes across the border into Botswana. In a small village he meets Gilbert, an Englishman determined to help the local community by introducing modern farming methods. They work together to try to improve lives in this rural area, but a severe drought threatens to starve them all. This book was very easy to read. The writing was compelling and deceptively simple.”–Jackie… she has a few additional comments to the reading experience you will want to check out as well.

–Jackie also reviews From the Fatherland, With Love by Ryu Murakami (Pushkin Press 2013 edition | orig pub 2005). “a political thriller which describes a scarily plausible series of events in which North Korean special forces invade Japan. […] Overall this is a very intelligent book. It gives a chilling insight into the holes in Japan’s security; whilst at the same time giving a thorough examination of the Japanese and North Korean culture. Recommended to anyone who likes to learn from their literature.”

Guiltess Reading shares Gagamba: The Spider Man by F. Sionil Jose (Solidaridad 1991). “Gagamba, the cripple, sells sweepstakes tickets the whole day at the entrance to Camarin, the Ermita restaurant. […] In mid-July 1990, a killer earthquake struck and entombed all the beautiful people dining at the Camarin. Gagamba could have easily gotten killed—but he survived the earthquake, as do two other lucky people who were buried in the rubble.As told by the Philippines’ most widely translated author, this novel raises a fundamental question about life’s meaning and suggests at the same time the only rational answer.”–publisher’s comments

A collection of vignettes of any man and any woman in the country that is the Philippines. I highly recommend it to all Filipinos,  F. Sionil Jose fans, and especially those who are simply just those interested or curious about the Philippines and its people.”–guiltless reader

war brothers–Lucas, for Guys Lit Wirereviews War Brothers: the Graphic Novel by Sharon McKay & Daniel LaFrance (Annick Press 2013). “Not an easy book to read, but it is an important book. It opens with a letter from Jacob in which he warns the reader of the content and says “There is no shame in closing this book now.” Please don’t. Read it, and then find someone to recommend it to.”

Estella’s Revenge (re)reads Toni Morrison’s Beloved (Penguin 1988 | orig. pub 1987). “All of the characters in Beloved, contend heavily with the past. They run from it, shy away from the memories, or try too hard to atone for it…to the detriment of their loved ones. The idea of the spirit in Sethe’s house is such a massive metaphor. So touching, terrible, and raw. 

“Morrison’s writing is difficult to grasp at times. She likes to plop the reader down in a situation, knowing very little, and let us wriggle and struggle a bit as the truth unfolds. I was totally fine with that, since the wriggling and struggling was worthwhile. Beautiful, terrible words. A lovely, terrifying story. […]

“There were times Beloved turned my stomach with its scenes are barbarism, and there were times it made my feelings soar. The writing was just amazing, and the overall plotting was excellent. I already loved Morrison for The Bluest Eye, but I’m glad I gave this book another go at a different time in life when I could appreciate it more. I’ll definitely be reading it again in the future.” 

————Book Lists———–

Jason Diamond at Flavorwire shares “20 Great Works of Latin American Fiction (That Aren’t by Gabriel García Márquez)” “Attributing a region’s entire contribution to the field to one author is, frankly, pretty ignorant. In fact, there are so many other essential books and authors in the Latin American canon.”

He also shared (back in September) “50 Works of Fiction in Translation Every English Speaker Should Read.” “There’s an entire world of literature out there if you just look beyond what was written in your native tongue. Major works in other languages are being translated into English all the time, meaning that there’s no time like the present for you to enjoy books from places like Russia, Egypt, Mexico, and other nations around the globe.” —there are several old familiars (I’ve hope you’ve already read)…I want to add two while we’re here: a thousand rooms of dream and fear by Atiq Rahimi (trans. from Dari by Sara Maguire and Yama Yari) and The Carpetmakers by Andreas Eschbach (trans. from German by Doryl Jensen).

A brief list Scholastic shared with Parents magazine of “Tales of Latin-American Traditions.”


garcia-395ad8d0830f5e5f0d22e86aba3d1c787382a242-s6-c30Remembering Gabriel Garcia Marquez. [I, for one, adore his short stories.] one article (from Flavorwire) of the many: “Gabriel García Márquez Was a Literary Legend — But We Should Remember Him for More Than Just His Writing” by Jason Diamond. “Few writers get to be remembered at all, while the ones who aren’t lost to time tend to be remembered solely for their works, rather than for what they stood for or accomplished beyond the pages of their books. Obviously, any writer would envy the type of literary legacy García Márquez will enjoy for years to come. But here’s hoping that when they discuss his work 20, 50, and 100 years down the road, his larger contributions to the world won’t be totally overshadowed by his writing.”

Scholastic (w/ Parents magazine) hosts “An Introduction to Gary Soto,” citing correctly that “Your tween will love being immersed in the brilliant world of award-winning author and poet Gary Soto.”

Kate Bircher and The Horn Book have “Five Questions for Cynthia Leitich Smith” about her urban fantasy series the Tantalize Quartet. “My inner Whedonite relishes geek-team protagonists in a multi-creature-verse. Along the way, I’ve also unleashed hell hounds, dragons, ghosts, and sorcerers. Writing the series finale, I’m showcasing diva demons and my heroes’ metaphorical demons within. Not to mention the diabolical governor of Texas. But pffft! You probably saw that coming.”–CLS.

Zetta Elliott is “Revisiting White Privilege in Publishing,” “in 2009, out of an estimated 5000 books published for children, less than 5% were authored by PoC. We could conclude that writers of color simply aren’t good enough to be published in greater numbers. Or…”

A new short fiction from Zadie Smith at The Paris Review, please and thank you, “Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets.”

thoughts? would love to hear them...

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