The term “diversity” can often be rather vague; in literature, we’re talking about representation, with themes that cover gender, race, culture, sexuality and class, among others. And these stories have never been more important to help us self-learn, reflect on what privileges we may have, and celebrate the diversity of humanity.
This month, we’ve asked Malaysian activist Nicole Fong, an ardent voice for climate justice and LGBTQ+ rights, to share her must-read books that celebrate diversity. After all, the world is a diverse place—let’s all applaud that with books that do it justice.
The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu
“This short story holds a special place in my heart because it is equal parts magical and devastating. It left me in tears and in shock at how powerful a short story could be. It speaks about cultural identity and acceptance as an immigrant or being ‘the Other’ in America. Children of immigrants who struggle with the pressure to assimilate into the majority culture would really connect with this story of wanting to fit into the dominant culture while still preserving your own cultural identity. Please do check out his other short stories as they are equally as powerful and important narratives from an East Asian perspective in the sci-fi, fantasy, and historical literature world that is typically dominated by white voices. You can also listen to LeVar Burton narrate it really beautifully on his podcast here.”
SHOP: The Book Depository
Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
“This book has challenged me to assess how I perpetuate ableism and evaluate the inclusivity and accessibility of my activism, such as the physical spaces we organise in, and also the unhealthy, burnout ways we operate in. She writes about the history of the disability justice movement, the importance of accessibility from a sick, disabled, queer, femme, Black, indigenous, people of colour, point of view, how to honour and celebrate femme emotional labour, and deconstructs the survivor-industrial complex of having to present their trauma a certain way to be palatable. Her words validated me by affirming all the unpaid, unnecessary emotional labour I hold, and care work I do as a femme in the relationships in my life, work, and activism. This book makes me want to incorporate a disability justice framework to my activism that centres sick and disabled people of colour, queer and trans disabled folks of colour.”
SHOP: The Book Depository
The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love by Sonya Renee Taylor
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