This was supposed to post last night, but I forgot February only has 28 days. My son accidentally put the date 2-29-28 on one of his school assignments yesterday, so we looked up the calendar and saw 2028 does indeed have February 29th! Thanks to that, I forgot 2022 does not have a February 29.
This year I’m embarking on a personal Diversity and Inclusivity Challenge. This involves trying to ensure at least half of all the books I read each month feature either diversity or an inclusive, accepting world. I’ve defined diversity as involving books focused on one group (non-white because too many books have already featured enough white only characters) or featuring a varied and diverse cast. Inclusivity here refers to worlds that accept the differences between people/creatures with no or very little disparaging remarks. So, how did I do in January?
I read 6 books, 2 of which were a diverse or inclusive read, 3 were not (I think, but I could be wrong), and 1 is so recently started that it’s inconclusive.
The Diverse Books
The Inclusive Books
Nope, none this month. But this is kind of a long shot, anyways.
The Diverse AND Inclusive Books
Black Truffle & Spice by Mathis Bailey is the book I started the month off with, after having started it at the end of January. The characters are so diverse, with Indian-French, Indian, and black characters as well as straight and gay characters. There is one character who is more traditional in her view points, but I enjoyed how her story line played out by the end. Not only was this book filled with delicious food, but it was also brimming with diversity in so many ways. I loved how the characters blended together, and especially how the leading couple learned to accept each other and the differences between them.
The City of Dusk by Tara Sim is not only a (somewhat disturbing) gorgeous fantasy (I think I could do with a few less corpses), but is also bursting with diversity. I love how most of the main characters appear to not be white and European-inspired, and that one of the families is strongly Indian-inspired. Of all the cultures, that one feels the most prominent, but I also get a sense of a Spanish flair. Other than the refugees, who are little more than minor characters, there’s no real difference in how the characters treat each other despite their physical appearances, sexuality, and abilities.
The Olympus Trinity by Brian Coggins, Jr. is inspired by Greek mythology, so of course the main characters come off that way. This does take the myths beyond the myths and into the future with an interesting sci-fi setting and does mention some alien races, but they are minor compared to the gods. I didn’t get a real sense of any diversity, but I also didn’t expect it. Really, I wanted to read this one to indulge in my love for Greek mythology, and this was definitely an interesting take on it.
For the Love of Alison by Sahlan Diver is set throughout the UK with little evidence of diversity, but it is an amazing novel in the mystery and thriller genre. I wasn’t expecting any real diversity in this one, either, as I read it primarily because I want to try to read more mysteries and thrillers this year. But, if memory serves me correctly, I do think there were a few characters who were Spanish, or at least not native to the UK. They just weren’t major enough for me to think of this book as truly diverse or inclusive. In the end, I’d have to label this one On the Border.
In Ora: The Land of the Superior by Sotto Voce is an intriguing one I’m not completely sure of how to categorize. The characterizations and descriptions were a little slim, so, while I suspect some diversity based on the names, I can’t be sure. But the world is interesting as it’s split between half having amazing technological and biological advances that gives the people incredible enhancements and the other half living relatively similar, if not worse conditions, than what we live in. There’s a clear difference and the latter people are treated differently when on the opposite side of the world. So, I have a hard time categorizing this one, but can’t deny it brought up some interesting ethical questions.
Tales of Atlantis: The Dawning of a New Age by D.M. White is my last read of February as I started it the night before the last day. Which means I can’t tell yet if there’s any diversity or inclusivity. I wanted to read this one because I’ve been fascinated with Atlantis since I was 12, and the book starts on a nice note in the middle of another civilization. Then it switched to modern day London and, well, there are a couple of guys training to row across the Atlantic. So, too early to tell what’s going on, but I look forward to when the men and the civilization come into contact.
Thanks for reading!