Colleen has a great post expressing her frustrations and concerns about how we go about recommending POC books to Caucasian readers. Personally, I have always found blanket requests odd. When girls ask for recommendations at the library or readers ask me for recommendations on my Black-Eyed Susan's, I start with questions. How do I know what you might like if I don’t know what you read and what you’re interested in?
Okay, let’s talk about what I read. Shingle on the door says we promote women writers of color. I read mostly realistic fiction. I lean towards the literary though for more than a year now, I’ve passed over a lot of literary works in an effort to keep up with what’s worth reading in YA. Not surprisingly what I read in YA very closely matches what I read in adult fiction: social and political themes, women issues, sexuality, body image, sexual orientation, culture, family, sci-fi, dystopia, historical fiction and memoirs. Genres I’m slowly learning more about include graphic novels and fantasy.
I love talking about books but I’m pretty lousy at writing reviews. Still, I’m always looking for more ways to share good reads with you. For the next few weeks, let’s try this: On Mondays, post your requests for POC recommendations for genres you enjoy, and I’ll answer your requests the following week. You don’t have to limit your requests to what I read. If I don’t have a recommendation, I’ll find someone who does. In the same post, I’ll share a title or two, providing links to reviews, identifying tags for the book and identifying books in the same genre for comparison.
To kick off “What Do I Read Next?” I highly recommend Purple Hibiscus. Nymeth at things mean a lot recently posted a great review. If you enjoy coming-of-age novels and like the writing style of writers like Chinua Achebe, I think you’ll enjoy Purple Hibiscus.
Set in Nigeria, Purple Hibiscus is the story of fifteen-year-old Kambili. She and her family live in fear of her father, a brutal and controlling man. Kambili’s father fights corruption and censorship, pays the school fees of numberless children, and helps those of his community who are in need. Yet in return he demands that they all share his strict Catholic faith, and rejects those who don’t, including his own father. And at home, he terrorizes his wife and children.
Tags: domestic violence, family, verbal abuse, coming-of-age, African writers, multicultural lit.
You might also like: Everything Good Will Come by Sefi Atta, The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Coffer or In The Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez.