Technically, the long title of my personal challenge this year is Diversity and Accepting and Inclusive Worlds Challenge, but I think that title’s a little too long. What it really boils down to is I want to read books with more diversity and with worlds that are inclusive and accepting (fully accepting would be wonderful, but I think I might have to settle for at least partly accepting).
Last year, I had the incredible pleasure of reviewing Merry Arlan: Breaking The Curse by Will Soulsby-McCreath. I’ve been a dedicated follower of Will’s blog, Nopoodles, for the past few years, so of course I immediately jumped onto the opportunity to review it. I nearly cried with how beautiful and accepting the world was and couldn’t help but wonder why we can’t live in that world now. Of course, it wasn’t 100% accepting, but definitely one of the most accepting, loving, and inclusive worlds I’ve had the pleasure of reading.
When I wrote my long, rambling, possibly impossible to actually fully understand post revisiting my bookish wish of 2021, I decided I was going to change what I read. When I look at science fiction and what’s contained in those stories and those TV shows and those movies, it’s easy to see some of the tech that has come to pass. When I first watched Star Trek: The Next Generation about 20 years ago, I never dreamed I’d one day be holding a device with all my reading materials on it. Well, I currently very much dislike my Kindle, but, hey, what I thought would never be real is indeed currently sitting next to me on the couch as I type this out. And I’ll never forget the days I spent learning how to input information into Electronic Medical Records about a decade ago. So, if life imitates art, why can’t I look specifically for worlds that reflect the kind of world I want to live in and maybe one day we can actually live in that kind of world?
This year I plan on working harder to find the books that offer diversity of all kinds with a special eye to books with the accepting, inclusive world I long for today. Of course, there are some authors and publishers I have a relationship of sorts with, so I’ll still be reading their books, but I’m definitely going to be hunting more for those reads I want to read.
So, here’s my challenge: for at least half of all books I read in a month to feature diversity of some kind and/or have an accepting, inclusive world.
Because I was educated in the soft sciences and have a degree in psychology (during which I had to take experimental psych classes that…didn’t always go well for me), I thought I’d also define what I mean by diversity and inclusivity.
Diversity: 1) books focused on one group and 2) books that feature a diverse cast. Being East Asian, I do want to try to read more books that focus on those cultures, but I also adore casts that have characters of all kinds. Depth and breadth as the director of the program I graduated from in college would say.
Inclusivity: I’m not really holding my breath for exactly what I want, but I do want worlds and societies that don’t willfully exclude people/groups. I want diverse characters to simply be accepted for who they are and not read any, or much of, disparaging, mean, hateful language associated with them. Certainly I understand how tensions between groups are used in stories, but, if that’s stripped out, what kind of story is there left to tell? Really, I want to know.
So there you have it. My new challenge for this year and exactly what I’m looking for. Wish me luck! And, if you’re interested in taking part with me, I’d love to know!