So many of you have signed up to participate in the A More Diverse Universe blog tour, which has been the highlight of my week. How many of you? FIFTY! That is a seriously amazing number. And if each one of you can get one more person to participate - well, I think you know that if you do the math, that makes 100. I can't even tell you how glorious it would be to get a century's worth of people reading and reviewing books. I'm going to aim high, but I'm already so, so happy!
I understand, though, that people are having trouble finding books to read. This is part of the reason why this blog tour is so important! It is so difficult just to find books that qualify for the tour, and there are only two requirements for the tour: POC Author, Speculative Fiction genre.
So I thought I'd help you out a little bit with a list of authors and books that might strike your fancy.
magical realism. The Enchantress of Florence is about the Emperor Akbar of Mughal India fame and his beloved and beautiful wife, Jodha - who may or may not have existed. Beautifully written, with a strong and flawed central character, and wonderfully evocative of India.
Haroun and the Sea of Stories is a young adult novel that Rushdie wrote for his son about a young boy and his storyteller father and their fantastical journey together.
Sarwat Chadda's new young adult novel The Savage Fortress is about an Indian-English boy who returns to India and sees elements of the Ramayana come to life. I haven't read the book yet, but there is an excellent review of it over at The Book Smugglers!
Throne of the Crescent Moon has been on my wish list for a long time. Based on the mythology and history of North Africa and the Middle East, this is a welcome, fresh take on the traditional epic fantasy novel.
And speaking of the Middle East, it's hard to mention it without thinking of the Arabian Nights! If you want a traditional take on these timeless tales, check out Husain Haddawy's "authoritative text." For a more modern take on the novel, try Rabih Alameddine's absolutely wonderful novel, The Hakawati.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a similar story by Grace Lin about the power of storytelling in a young Chinese girl's life. If you are looking for something quick but engaging, or want to read a book with beautiful illustrations, this one's for you!
When Fox is a Thousand a try. It's described as combining "Chinese mythology, the sexual politics of medieval China, and modern-day Vancouver to masterfully revise the myth of the Fox (a figure who can inhibit women’s bodies in order to cause mischief)." Sounds good to me!
Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King is one of my top reads for 2012. An amazing story about Native Americans trying to make it in the modern world - I loved the narrative style of this one, alternating between the characters and the narrators and sharing so many lessons along the way. This is a book I plan to purchase in hardcover very soon.
And it's hard to mention Native American fiction without mentioning Sherman Alexie! Flight is not my favorite book by Alexie, but it is a very powerful look the modern foster care system and the children that are so impacted by it, for better or for worse.
One of the books I have out of the library and plan to read for this event is Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, Mario Vargas Llosa's Nobel Prize-winning semi-autobiographical novel about a young man, his affair with an older aunt, and a man who writes soap operas.
Octavia Butler - I don't think there's much I need to say about her! She's the most popular author on this blog tour by far. I found Kindred very moving and have heard many positive things about the rest of her books, too!
Nalo Hopkinson - A Jamaican Canadian who draws on the Caribbean traditions of oral storytelling to create vivid stories
Nnedi Okorafor - A Nigerian American author who has won a lot of awards, including the World Fantasy Award for her novel Who Fears Death, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic Africa. She also writes young adult fiction that features Nigerian culture.
Graphic novels more your style? Then you have a TON of options! The entire manga genre is open to you :-) Or try Hiromi Goto's Half World, which Jill of Fizzy Thoughts tells me is really, really great! It's about a girl who must go to the Half World to save her mother from a creeptastic villain. Goto has written other novels, too - find her on GoodReads!
Don't have enough time for a full novel and want to read a short story instead? Check out one of these amazing anthologies and pick one that grabs you at the first line!
Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora
The Apex Book of World Science Fiction
So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy
WHEW! That was a lot, and not even the tip of the iceberg! I hope that sends you out on a highly enjoyable search for books and authors and that you find even more that you can recommend and share with us, too. I can't wait to see what you choose!