Today, we talk about diversity.
I’m from Malaysia, a multiracial country between Thailand and Singapore. It is the home to the 3 major races (Malay, Chinese and Indian) and it is the home to the Orang Asli, the collective term of natives that covers 18 ethnic groups. There is of course mix-races that formed their own culture, such as the Baba Nyonya, and even other cultural groups from the East such as the Ibans and Kadazan Dusuns.
As a Malaysian book reviewer, I don’t read enough diverse books, and especially books from my own country. In a multicultural country like this, there’s so many voices to be heard, and since I have a few from my shelf, I’ll start from there. But of course, there’s definitely more BIPOC books to read, and I highly encourage you to do the same.
Here is a book that can help you out.
Bibliophile: Diverse Spines
by Jamise Harper & Jane Mount
get it here
It’s time to diversify your reading list.
This richly illustrated and vastly inclusive collection uplifts the works of authors who are often underrepresented in the literary world. Using their keen knowledge and deep love for all things literary, coauthors Jamise Harper (founder of the Diverse Spines book community) and Jane Mount (author of Bibliophile) collaborated to create an essential volume filled with treasures for every reader:
- Dozens of themed illustrated book stacks—like Classics, Contemporary Fiction, Mysteries, Cookbooks, and more—all with an emphasis on authors of color and authors from diverse cultural backgrounds
- A look inside beloved bookstores owned by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
- Reading recommendations from leading BIPOC literary influencers
Diversify your reading list to expand your world and shift your perspective. Kickstart your next literary adventure now!
*An ARC was given by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
For marginalized writers and readers, and for the booksellers, librarians, and booklovers who champion those voices.Jamise Harper & Jane Mount
I’ve realised that as a person-of-colour, I don’t read many diverse books. Most of the books on my shelf are from white authors, and if I were to put all my diverse books together, it might only fill up one shelf. That is definitely something that needs to change and I’m extremely glad to have a copy of this book, which gave me a list to start.
Bibliophile: Diverse Spines promotes reading books from other races, splitting it into different genres from cook books to dystopia, poetry to feminism. There’s a diverse read waiting for you, in whatever genre you enjoy reading. Although it isn’t entirely an ‘OwnVoices’ book from cover to cover, there will be elements and of it throughout the book, which can help increase empathy for others.
Aside from being a book that recommends diverse reads, they involve authors and influential BIPOC readers to share their favourite books, favourite BIPOC-owned bookstores across America and Canada, and also shared writing spaces from a few authors. There are also a couple of pages dedicated to beautiful book covers which made my heart flutter.
If you want to start reading diversely, this book is a good guide. It is mostly focused on Black authors and experiences, but there’s definitely other Indigenous and POC voices from around the world as well. For some of the books, there’s a short description on what it is about so you can easily add it to your TBR list, but for some others, you can easily find the description online.
As I read it, I compiled a list of the books I wanted to read. It felt great to see a few of the books on my shelf on here too, but there can definitely be more. The beautiful illustrations are also a big plus, and was what initially caught my attention. The bibliophile series is definitely one that I’ve been looking forward to purchasing, and having a copy, just an advance-reader’s ebook is good enough for me.
I’m taking this time to shoutout some of my favourite diverse-reading, POC book reviewers:
Christine from LookPrettyBooks
Atul from Atul Reads
Jessica from Endless Chapters
Xueh Wei from ReadLahWei
Zat from The Euphoric Zat,
Sofii from A Book, A Thought