Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Celebrating Diversity


This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme, as set forth by The Broke and the Bookish, is "Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters."  I'm not sure if these are my "top ten," but here are ten books I've enjoyed that have diverse characters.  I've linked the titles to my reviews, as usual.



I Never Had it Made by Jackie Robinson (with Alfred Duckett) delves into Jackie Robinson's struggles as he broke the color barrier in baseball, became a successful businessman, and endeavored to live out his Christian beliefs in his home and in public.




The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas includes an important minor character, Haydee, who is from the Middle East.



Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King, the latest Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes adventure, takes place mainly in Japan and involves many Japanese characters.



Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock reimagines the teenage Sherlock Holmes as half-Jewish, poor and outcast, living in London's slums.



The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien both show how culture clashes between various races can cause conflict, but also how differences can be helpful.



My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay takes place during an American mission trip to Indonesia gone wrong and has important Indonesian characters.


Ray Bradbury - From the Dust Returned

From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury involves a family of vampires and other supernatural creatures who have adopted a human boy.



The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King features lesbian detective Kate Martinelli solving a Sherlock-Holmes-related mystery in modern-day San Francisco.



Vanishing Act by Thomas Perry is a thriller about a Native American woman who helps people disappear and begin new lives under new identities.



The No. 1 Ladies Detection Agency by Alexander McCall Smith revolves around a lady detective in Botswana.


Have you ever read any of these?  Do you purposely seek out diverse books?  I know I'm mainly interested in the characters, not what or who they are, but learning about different cultures or lifestyles can be fascinating and rewarding.

13 comments:

  1. I love the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series! I haven't read the last few but I hope I'll get around to them someday soon. :)

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    1. I haven't read the rest of them yet, but the first one was very entertaining.

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  2. I don't really "seek out" diverse books, but I do love it when a story takes a character from a minority group or a culture that is often stereotyped and tries to understand them and make them seem real. Now I'm trying to think of books I've read which do that and I'm drawing a blank . . . except for King of the Wind, by Marguerite Henry. Oh, and Death Comes As the End by Agatha Christie. It's a murder mystery set in Ancient Egypt, and it's awesome because she is really able to make the Egyptians seem like real, live people.

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    1. You know, I think I've read more diverse YA and JF books than adult, isn't that silly? Like "King of the Wind," "The Bronze Bow," "Sign of the Beaver," "A Light in the Forest," "The Man in the Box" and on and on and on...

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    2. Kids are more open? YA and JF writers are more interested in introducing their audience to different cultures and practices than writers of adult fiction? It's easier to sell "different" books to kids? I myself was more open as a kid? Or, maybe... I had WAY more time to read back then than I do now?

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  3. All I know is that I tire of reading the same old dribble so when I find a book with unique characters and backgrounds, I'm much more intrigued. Like Burning Sky by Lori Benton. She writes American Indian characters so brilliantly. And A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines that I consider to be a masterpiece of racial tension in the South.

    And I do love how Shane Peacock reimagined Sherlock Holmes as half-Jewish. That was a brilliant series. I only read three of the books so it's on my list of series to someday finish.

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    1. Carissa, I've heard of "A Lesson Before Dying." I should see if my library has it.

      I've read the first 3 or 4 of Shane Peacock's books and intend to read the rest, as I find time for them.

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  4. I am obviously "out of the loop." I've read none of the books. Shame on me. Instead, my reading has lately been 100% Shakespeare (i.e., read all about it at my new blog -- Shakespeare in the Library). However, I will say this about the theme of your posting: I don't think I ever consciously sought out books because of diversity-themes; on the other hand, Shakespeare gives me plenty of diversity (i.e., has any writer created a wider range of characters?).

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    1. Blaine, there's nothing wrong with focusing on Shakespeare! He's definitely diverse. Good luck with your new blog!

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  5. I love the wide variety of characters and books that you showed! I love looking at your lists because I usually see books that I didn't know about and I know I would love. I usually stick with classics, poetry, and historical fiction, but I really should read more books with diverse subjects.

    Sometimes I get into a groove, and I'll read a bunch of books relating to the French revolution and so on. I tend to get into grooves when it comes to series. I don't know why, but once I get into a series, I can't stop, and I have to read all the books. The effects of getting engrossed into series is that I am on the 44th Nancy Drew book. :-) Do you tend to get into grooves? Or which genre do you usually read most often?

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    1. Thanks, Ekaterina! I'm always happy to introduce people to books I enjoy -- that's one of the main reasons I started this blog!

      I do get into reading grooves, as you put it. Like a few years ago, I decided to read all of Jane Austen's novels in a single year, and I ended up reading all sorts of books based on her novels or about her too.

      But I tend to try to space books in a series out. If I read them all in a row, then they all smoosh together in my head and I get annoyed that I can't remember what happened in which book very well. So I'll try to read a different book in between each of them, if I have the whole series available to me.

      I read mysteries more than any other genre. All you really have to say about a book is, "It's a mystery," or "So there's this detective..." and I'm like, "Gimme! Gimme!"

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  6. Well, you know from the Diverse Books Challenge that I've been doing this year that I do sometimes seek books out for their diversity. That's not the only way I choose books, but I love learning about different people and cultures through books. I have experienced much more through books than a lot of people do through traveling or experience. That being said, I haven't finished any of the books on your list except The Hobbit. I say finished because I started a few of them a long time ago. I hadn't even heard of the Ray Bradbury one, though; thanks! Several of these are going on my TBR list now.

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