Exactly one year ago, the A More Diverse Universe blog tour began! A More Diverse Universe celebrates diversity in speculative fiction by encouraging people to read books in the fantasy or science fiction genres that were written by people of color. It is so very important to read diversely, to read books by and about and for people who have different life experiences than you. The fantasy and science fiction genres are especially poorly represented by authors of color. The fantasy shelf at libraries and bookstore is stocked full of epic fantasy series that take place in quasi-Medieval settings where Winter is Coming or massive castles climb to the clouds or peasant girls have godmothers and all the rest of the tropes. As much as fantasy is about magic and other worlds and quests, it's also heavily influenced by our own experiences. But most authors in fantasy have the same experience. What about the rest of the world, with different cultural norms, societal structures, religions, traditions, and yes, skin color? If you went to a library and saw no books on the shelf that spoke to you and your own life experience, do you think you would have become such a voracious reader?
The world deserves library bookshelves filled with books that can speak to many different people. And that's what #Diversiverse is all about. It's weird and self-aggrandizing to quote myself, I know, but I wrote a very impassioned post last year to introduce the event, and I what I said then still rings true today:
I know your TBR list is huge. I know your commitments are many. I know that there are so many things on which you must take a stand, and it can be exhausting to make reading a political activity. But this is so important to me, and I really think it should be important to you, too. None of us lives in a monochromatic world, and yet the fact that terrifying hate crimes still occur makes it clear that we do not fully understand or trust each other. And maybe part of the reason is because the media we consume does not accurately reflect the diversity of our society. And books are such a massive part of the media we consume that we should demand and fight for those that do represent minorities and those that do present the world from a different perspective than the one we are used to. So please - participate. You may just discover a character or an author or a setting or a story that will completely change your life.I tried to get a head start on A More Diverse Universe this year. It didn't work out. The group of us who planned and executed last year just don't have the bandwidth to plan and execute such a large event this year. There's no way we can take sign-ups, send out email assignments, pull together a schedule, and then update with links every day.
That said, I really believe that #Diversiverse is a very valuable event in blogopshere and I want it to happen again. And I want it to be a massive success and for dozens or even hundreds of readers to participate. But I don't think the only way for that to happen is to have a very organized and structured week-long event. I think we can do it a bit on the fly. As in, I create a Mr. Linky on a blog post in say, seven weeks - November 15th-17th - and then everyone who participates just puts a link on that blog post with their blog name and the name of the book being reviewed. Simple, right?
I hope it's a small enough ask that you can fit it into your reading schedule without a blip. I hope it's an impactful enough weekend that you will think critically about your reading going forward. If we vote with our dollars (or euros or yen or rupees), then think about the votes we are casting. As book bloggers and book readers and book advocates and book evangelists, we truly do have the ability to influence others' reading choices, and I urge you to urge others to read a brilliant book they might never have come across if not for your influence.
So what should you read? The kick-off post last year had some links that may be of use. I put up some suggestions last year. Here is a list of all the titles that people read and reviewed for the event last year. I also created a #diversiverse label on my blog for the books that I've read and identified as qualifying for the challenge. And here's a list specifically for YA authors of color. And I'm sure people will start populating the comments with their recommendations as well!
Please note: Books only qualify for this challenge if they were written by a person of color, not if they are about a person of color. They also only qualify if they are in the speculative fiction genre: that includes fantasy, science fiction, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, superhero comics - anything is game. If you aren't sure, just ask!
Alright, that's all! If you want to be reminded in a few weeks of the event occurring, just sign up via the Mr. Linky below and I promise to post on your blog reminding you to pick a book and start reading! I'll keep talking about the event over the next several weeks, too, so don't worry - I won't let you forget! Please sign up and tell all your friends! And keep telling them!