Top Ten Tuesday: Celebrating Diverse Books and Characters

Random fact about myself: I frequently forget what date it is. Not day. No. I know that it's a hot and muggy Monday night in the middle of the summer. But today being the 20th of July just didn't register until a moment ago. With that comes the reminder: Tomorrow is the 21st, the first check-in for the Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge and also a Tuesday so a Top Ten Tuesday, and ah, I can't do both! So I'm writing this post late on Monday night before writing my check-in post for tomorrow because I didn't want to skip anything. 

*Takes deep breath* Well, now that I've explained that in great, and probably unnecessary, detail...

Diversity in books. Seriously, the dedication of a Top Ten Tuesday doesn't even do this topic justice. I would need, oh I don't know, a whole series to talk about it! The diversity we need, the diversity we don't have, the diversity I hope, as a black woman and a writer, to bring to the industry. Nevertheless for now, I shall represent it all by the lovely #WeNeedDiverseBooks and my top ten diverse characters or books celebrating diversity. Also, I'm sure the fact that there are only 5 books on this list because I cannot think of 10 books touting diversity, that speaks volumes.

 

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

I've sung this novel's praises numerous times but in case you missed it, here's my review. I love this novel. I feel like it has burrowed it's way into my heart and found a home there. I think of it frequently and I think of it fondly. It's sweet, loving, inspiring, and most relevantly, handles diversity in such a unique and masterful way that you forget it's about diversity at all. I won't go much deeper for fear of spoilers, but there's a reason it won a Printz Award. If you haven't read it, you must.  

 

 

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Throne of Glass isn't really a diverse book as a whole. However, it does have one of most lovely, astoundingly beautiful characters who happens to be a woman of color, Nehemia.... . Part of my appreciation for Nehemia comes from her characterization itself but part of it comes from the treatment of the character by Sarah J. Maas. Nehemia is the princess of Ellywe, a [nation]..., and is deep brown in complexion (as evidenced by Sarah J. Maas' Pinterest). She is rebellious and headstrong while also being a generous, self-sacrificing, stunning human being. She is a vigilante and a figurehead around which a rebellion can take place, and she truly, truly cares about her people, even to the detriment of herself. And the way Sarah J. Maas treats her... I'm not sure I can find words to describe it. To put it simply, and most definitely inadequately, she treats Nehemia like a queen, and it is so beautiful to see that it almost moves me to tears.     

 

The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer

For those of you who may not know, The Lunar Chronicles is a sci-fi series ... (see my review of the first two books here and here). Not only does each novel take place in a different location and culture, including a place called New Beijing with a culture that resembles that of [China], but the final installment is a retelling of Snow White centering around the life of Winter, ... Also, she happens to be black.  

 

Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare  

There are quite a few people who don't like Cassandra Clare's novels - I am not one of them. You could consider it my guilty pleasure except I don't feel the least bit guilty about it. Her novels include diversity within fantastical creatures as well as human beings. I very much enjoy reading both of her current series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, I plan to read and enjoy her next two, The Dark Artifices and The Last Hours. Not only do I appreciate the authors inclusion of all kinds of people in her books, I greatly appreciate her demand of maintaining and even broadening said diversity in the adaptation of them.

 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I know, I know. What is this book doing here? Well, hear me out right quick. Yes, traditionally, the classic novel by Emily Brontë is not taught of as a diverse book or a novel containing much diversity worth inclusion in such a category. But after the recent film adaptation in which the character of Heathcliff was cast as a black man, my traditional view of the novel has changed immensely. As indicated in this post from last year, I reread the novel after seeing the recent film and it's like everything clicked into place. Of course! A black Heathcliff made so much sense for the situation. At the very least, we have to agree that Heathcliff was "other" in some way that made him an outcast. He was diverse for his time, so to speak. 

Do you know of any books celebrating diversity? Please, leave me them in the comments below!