Discussion: How Diverse Do I Actually Read & How To Read More Diverse?

You all know how much I value diversity in a book and if you didn’t know that yet: hi, you must be new here. I’m Lia and I am an advocate of diversity in books. Nice to meet you.

Over the past half year, I’ve set myself the goal to read more diversely and keep track of how diverse I read. Half a year has passed and now I think it’s time to check my progress!

Some Stats

I’ve been keeping track using a 5-star system, rating each book based on POC, LGBT+, disability, minority and non-western setting. Each book could get a score of 0 or 1 (sometimes 0.5) on each of the criteria. Let’s take a look at how often I gave the books I read a star (or point) for each criterion! I added some examples of books I read this half of the year with representation.

POC: 53.2%

It turns out that in over 50% of the books I’ve read a character, main or (major) side, is of colour! Most of these were side characters.

LGBT+: 44.9%

I also read a lot of LGBT+ books with characters ranging from gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, non-binary, intersexual and asexual.

 

Disability: 33.8%

Disabilities were a little rarer, mostly these were characters suffering from mental disorders and characters with minor disabilities such as a limb. Some examples of disabilities/disorders I’ve read about: anxiety, deafness, blindness, ASD, muteness, eating disorders, depression.

 

Minority: 14.4%

Minorities turn out to be a very vague term. I used this mainly for books that contained a character with a semi-rare decent or religion. Examples are Native American or other indigenous people and Jewish or other religious people.

 

Non-Western: 0.05%

Non-western was the hardest for me, I read mostly books that are set in the US/Europe because most of the books I read are written by American or European authors. I read no books that were set in non-Western countries but I gave some half-stars for books set in a non-Western fantasy world.

Overall: 73.8%

If we combine all the ratings, I found that almost 3 out of 4 books I read contain some sort of diversity. Not all of them to the same degree, but I am really happy with this number. On average, the books I read got 1.5 stars, which is decent.

My rating system

After half a year I’ve grown to realize that it isn’t as simple as a rating, because sometimes a book is really diverse in the way that it really talks about one “thing” extensively. For example, None of the Above, which is about a girl who finds out she’s intersex. I would say this book is very diverse because it is about intersexuality and how she deals with this, with the prejudices and discrimination that comes with it and everything surrounding this issue. However, if you would rate this with my scale, it would only get 1 star. And it deserves more. There are so many books like that, that deserve more than the 1 or 2 stars they would get with my system.

So I’ve decided to not include a rating like this in every review anymore (not that I was very consistent anyway). I will keep track of it and I will usually discuss the diversity of the book if applicable, but I won’t rate it anymore from now on.

How you can read more diverse

  1. Be aware of the topic: Great, you’re on the right track already! If you’re reading this post, you’re clearly interested in diversity and reading more diversely.
  2. Keep track: This really helped me, after each book I read, I thought about the diverse representation and jotted it down somewhere (or just made a mental note).
  3. Keep an open mind: If you’re open to reading about topics that are further from your comfort zone, you might get surprised with what you find! I wasn’t used to reading about diverse characters before because I didn’t explore other characters than characters that were alike me.
  4. Set yourself goals: or just note type of characters or settings you want to read about. If you set yourself the goal to read at least (idk) 10 diverse books over the summer, you get more motivated to do so. Diversity bingos or something alike are a great resource.
  5. Go out and look for diverse books: there are plenty of lists people made about diverse books you might want to read. I made one myself, you can check it out here, you can also just look up all the books I mentioned/showed above!
  6. Make it more of a priority: it’s just a small decision but it changes your entire way of reading!
  7. Have fun! That is, of course, the most important 😀

I hope you thought this was interesting! Did you read a lot of diverse books? Is diversity important to you as a reader? Any recommendations?

29 thoughts on “Discussion: How Diverse Do I Actually Read & How To Read More Diverse?

  1. I love how diverse you read! Sometimes it can be hard to find diverse books but lately a lot of people have been recommending them on their blogs and talking about diverse books which is amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually surprised myself, I didn’t know I read that many diverse books haha. Yes I’m all for promo of diverse books! We should make them more approachable 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, and congrats on diversifying your reading! I would definitely need to start keeping track of things like that if I wanted to figure out mine. I tend to read books and forget character descriptions for the most part haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I feel like it really helped for me 🙂 I often forget about descriptions as well but I now use sticky notes (in physical books) or mark it (in ebooks). That way I can never forget!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic post, Lia! I love how you aim to read books with more diversity. I think it’s a really important thing to pay attention to and I applaud you on making such a wonderful effort on keeping track of diverse reads! I’ve been trying to read more diversely this month, but I have a long ways to go. You’ve mentioned some really great books I’d like to look into. Keep it up! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I think tracking really paid off! Good luck with diversifying your reading! I definitely recommend all the books I mentioned so I hope you find some you love 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! One things I love about your blog is about how much you support diverse books, which is great! I personally think some, if not most, of the books I read are diverse? I usually pick up books if they seem interesting or they’re hyped, and a lot of the hyped ones are diverse, so I think I’ve read quite a couple.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Lia your post was really interesting! I just posted something about “Are you literary fluid” some weeks ago as I think diversity is important to open our minds!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!! That’s interesting! I agree, diversity really helps to open our minds to different ideas and people and that’s one of the reasons I love reading about it so much!

      Like

    1. YAY 😀
      I know right?? I guess if you go out and search for them, they’re out there, but most of the books I’m interested in are set in western settings :/

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I love that it’s not that hard to do anymore, there are so many people out there promoting diverse books and that makes me really happy!

      Like

  6. Impressive post! Yeah, I like reading all sorts of books, otherwise it gets boring. I like reading books set in different countries or cultures, and about African Americans, as that is outside my experience. Also books set in Russia and Japan. That’s just a few favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reading diversely is important to me as we live in such a diverse world, but I don’t have a rating system for it. I just look for books that have been tagged as diverse and try to stay away from the ones that are potentially harmful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, Lia! I loved this post. As a Chinese girl who lives in Italy, I’ve been bullied many times.
    And from this experience I have fear of being alone, of not being accepted, of crowds and people.
    This is why I read so much. Books don’t judge you, books make you smile and cry, books don’t hurt you.
    I love that the mindset of people is changing, though not to as many as I wanted, that people covers more and more topics like diversity.
    I stand for those who tell their own story, their own pain, their own way to happiness.
    Thanks so much for this post! 💚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry about that. I was bullied as a kid as well, and it’s horrible 😦
      I love the way you put that, books have been my escape as well. I think that my experiences as a little girl have really influenced the way I read right now and why I think diversity is so important. I didn’t fit in (I still don’t really) and reading about characters that don’t fit in either (for whatever reason) is so wonderful because it makes you feel less alone.
      Thank you for your comment and all the best ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah, I do terribly when it comes to reading diversely. Right now, it’s because I’m trying to read the books I already own & have been on my shelf for years. I was never on a hunt for diverse books, just chose what sounded interesting or was on the popular shelf at barnes & noble. So my shelves seriously lack diverse reads. Hopefully, once I actually read some of the ones I already have and make room for new books, I can add some of the ones I’ve been REALLY wanting to read to my shelves!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, there’s no harm in not reading diversely, but it’s good that you want to add in more diversity to your reading! There have been a lot of amazing new releases that are diverse!

      Like

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