#DiversifiveBooks Challenge

by - 2:39 PM

Êl síla erin lû e-govaned vîn! I stumbled across this challenge on the lovely Taryn's blog about a month ago, and I knew right away I wanted to participate. Created by The Stacks Podcast, this challenge is a way to bring attention to under-appreciated books. The blogosphere can often feel like an echo chamber where the same few titles and authors are the only ones being talked about (Stiefvater, Bardugo, Schwab, I'm looking at you), and equally cool but lesser-known books are pushed to the side because they're not popular enough for people to want to discuss them. So today, let's bring some lesser-known titles into the mix! I'll only be answering these questions using books I've never seen discussed anywhere else or, if I have, I can count the number of times on one hand. *rubs hands* I think that's that, so let's get into the challenge!

Highlight books . . .

  • you loved before you started blogging
  • by an author of a different ethnicity than you
  • you're excited to read by or about people of color
  • you love but rarely see featured
  • in a genre you don't usually read

Books You Loved Before You Started Blogging

My Favorite

Be careful what you wish for...

Once upon a time there was a fairy godmother named Desiderata who had a good heart, a wise head, and poor planning skills—which unfortunately left the Princess Emberella in the care of her other (not quite so good and wise) godmother when DEATH came for Desiderata. So now it's up to Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg to hop on broomsticks and make for far-distant Genua to ensure the servant girl doesn't marry the Prince.

But the road to Genua is bumpy, and along the way the trio of witches encounters the occasional vampire, werewolf, and falling house (well this is a fairy tale, after all). The trouble really begins once these reluctant foster-godmothers arrive in Genua and must outwit their power-hungry counterpart who'll stop at nothing to achieve a proper "happy ending"—even if it means destroying a kingdom.

If you didn't know, now you do: this is my all-time favorite book. I'm usually not a fan of fairytale retellings, but this one is HILARIOUS. It's the story of Cinderella retold from the POV of a group of antihero fairy godmothers. Fans of Douglas Adams or Kage Baker will love this book. Guaranteed.

The Runners-Up (this is totally not a required part of the challenge, I just like overdoing it, okay?) 

Books By an Author of a Different Ethnicity

My Favorite 

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Sympathizer is a Vietnam War novel unlike any other. The narrator, one of the most arresting of recent fiction, is a man of two minds and divided loyalties, a half-French half-Vietnamese communist sleeper agent living in America after the end of the war.

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. But, unbeknownst to the general, this captain is an undercover operative for the communists, who instruct him to add his own name to the list and accompany the general to America. As the general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, the captain continues to observe the group, sending coded letters to an old friend who is now a higher-up within the communist administration. Under suspicion, the captain is forced to contemplate terrible acts in order to remain undetected. And when he falls in love, he finds that his lofty ideals clash violently with his loyalties to the people close to him, a contradiction that may prove unresolvable.

HI HELLO MY NAME IS ELLIE AND I WOULD GLADLY SELL MY SOUL TO THIS ENTIRE BOOK. It won the Pulitzer a couple years ago and entirely deserved it. It's hauntingly, beautifully written and one of those books I know I will remember forever.

The Runners-Up

Books You're Excited to Read By or About People of Color

Most Excited For

As a collection of poetry and prose, Phantoms as Euphemisms for Disaster explores the many faces of loss. Not only the loss of love, but loss of language, culture, identity and self. The book seamlessly navigates the silences between harrowing conversations, to realizations about growing up, about grief and how to deal with loss, to the reawakening of tenderness, hope and awareness in the innate power of self. This is a fantastic collection for anyone who appreciates a unique voice, beautiful language and the ache and sweetness that is living.

N.L. Shompole is one of my all-time favorite poets; her collection Lace Bone Beast was one of my 10 favorite reads of last year. Looking through some of her other work, Phantoms as Euphemisms for Disaster looks like it would the most up my alley due to its combining of poetry and prose. Also, that title is awesome.

Also Very Exciting

Books You Love But Never See Featured

My Favorite

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He's short, he's fast, he's got a ton of potential—and he's the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn't need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil's not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil's new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can't walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he's finally found someone and something worth fighting for.

This is a surprise to literally no one okay bye.

The Runners-Up

Books From a Genre You Don't Usually Read (this used to be anything that's not fantasy or paranormal, but now it's basically just Christian, historical fiction, and contemporary)

My Favorite

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last - inexorably - into evil.

I knew the moment I finished it that this would be the best book I'd read in 2018. And I finished it on January 2nd.

The Runners-Up 

Whew! I think we're finally done! Talk to me, people: What are your favorite underrated books? What books would you nominate in these categories? Comment below, and have a fabulous day.

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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Can't wait to see it! He's my favorite as well. I know, right, I think a lot of people would like him.

    2. Oops, sorry about that! I didn't mean to remove your comment. Just pushed a wrong button.

  2. I love this post! It's so refreshing to see so many books I've never heard about in one place, that doesn't happen very often for me anymore. I'm gonna check these out and add some to my TBR 😊

    I love that Crush is on your list! It's one of my favorite books of all time, I could honestly reread it daily. I also love The Secret History, I wrote this for you and Ex Libris!


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