I’m going to be teaching a Continuing Ed class in April through Simmons called Diversity 102: Moving Beyond and Forward. If you have spent more than five seconds here, you know that I am passionate about diversity in books but rather fed up with this 101 approach everyone keeps taking – if we don’t move past calling for diversity and wanting diversity, we’re not actually going to get anywhere. It’s all well and good to care but quite another to actively stop buying books that don’t support a more diverse canon or to read books that move beyond stereotypes and tropes into fully realized diverse characters. Etc etc.
Anyway. I am really excited to teach this class and would love it if you wanted to take it. But really, what I’m realizing as I build the course is that I still have some work to do myself (duh – we all do). Without fully auditing my last year’s reading (thanks, error on GoodReads), I can say just from general reflection – and having been asked by a teacher colleague at work if I can recommend books by Asian writers – that I do not read many Asian writers, and most that I do read are South Asian in descent or origin, not East Asian. So I need to work on that. I hear Ruth Ozeki is great and now I really want to try her novels, and I have books by Ellen Oh, Maureen Goo and Grace Lin on my bookshelf, but I will gladly take suggestions for authors if you can name a specific book that you think I would particularly like. With, of course, the caveat that comes from all of my accepting of book recommendations – my to-read list is incredibly long and entirely aspirational, so if I don’t read your suggestion, that doesn’t actually mean I don’t want to, just that I haven’t been able to quit my day job(s) yet. If something really and truly interests me, it goes on that list and stays on it. And I read it when I can. And given that this is a huge gap in my reading, I intend to do some rearranging of my current piles of books and try to get to it sooner. Continue reading